- 31 Aug 20
The star-studded programme for Van Morrison's 75th birthday kicks off at 7pm this evening!
Following spectacular performances for 'Rave On, Van Morrison' over the last few weeks, Van's Big Day is finally here! And to celebrate, we've lined up an action-packed programme – including the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Hozier; Bob Geldof; Glen Hansard; Moya Brennan of Clannad; Brian Kennedy; Paul Casey & Friends feat. Terri Hooley; Mary Coughlan; John Spillane; Altan; and Malaki.
The special video extravaganza, curated by Hot Press magazine and broadcast on YouTube, is the centre-piece of a unique celebration of the life and the music of the man widely considered to be Ireland’s greatest and most influential ever songwriter, singer and performer – and one of the outstanding figures in contemporary music over the past 50+ years.
In honour of Van Morrison’s 75th birthday, Hot Press asked 75 Irish artists to record videos of his songs. Over the past three weeks, the videos have premiered nightly. On Van’s birthday, Rave On, Van Morrison will step up another gear, with the Hot Press YouTube channel premiering a full football team’s worth of videos specially on Van’s birthday – that’s eleven in all!
Today's video performances kick off at 7pm (Irish time) and run on the quarter-hour. Fans of great music all over the world will be able to feast their eyes and ears on these powerful videos:
• President Michael D. Higgins with Bill Whelan – ‘Rave On, John Donne’ (7pm)
• Bob Geldof – ‘I'm Tired Joey Boy’ (7.15pm)
• Moya Brennan (Clannad) – ‘The Beauty Of The Days Gone By’ (7.30pm)
• Paul Casey & Friends feat. Terri Hooley – ‘In The Days Before Rock ’n’ Roll’ (7.45pm)
• Brian Kennedy – ‘Days Like This’ (8pm)
• Mary Coughlan – ‘Warm Love’ (8.15pm)
• John Spillane – ‘Cleaning Windows’ (8.30pm)
• Altan – ‘Whenever God Shines His Light’ (8.45pm)
• Malaki – ‘Someone Like You’ (9pm)
• Glen Hansard – ‘Astral Weeks’ (9.15pm)
• Hozier – ‘Caravan’ (9.30pm)
And that really is just for birthday starters! Rave On, Van Morrison runs until Sunday September 15th, when there will be another bonanza finale. The series has already featured lovingly rendered interpretations of Van classics by the likes of Damien Rice, Imelda May, Gary Lightbody (Snow Patrol), Damien Dempsey, Una Healy (The Saturdays), Bronagh Gallagher, Tim Wheeler (Ash), Maverick Sabre, Duke Special, David Keenan, Wallis Bird, Hudson Taylor, Mick Flannery, and The Henry Girls, among many more – all of which can now be viewed on the Hot Press YouTube channel.
“It has been really thrilling watching the videos land,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes says. “The result is a feast of extraordinary music, brilliantly delivered by artists from all over the island of Ireland. This is a hugely deserved tribute to a brilliant, internationally acclaimed artist from East Belfast. But Rave On, Van Morrison has also turned into a powerful confirmation of the outstanding talent that exists in this extraordinary place on the eastern edge of the Atlantic ocean. Long may it continue.”
With Sinéad O’Connor, The Academic, SOAK, Cathal Coughlan, Papenfus, Therapy?, Lyra and Ryan Sheridan ad among those still to come, rest assured, there’s still loads of fireworks on the way, after Van’s birthday! For notifications and updates, fans can subscribe to the Hot PressYouTube channel.
Many of the wonderful artists who have contributed to Rave On, Van Morrison, are also included in Voices On Van, one of the many must-reads in the new Rave On, Van Morrison Special Issue of Hot Press 27 – which also contains the highlights of our exclusive interview last week in Belfast with Van who, in highly reflective mood, discusses the Belfast he grew up in, ‘Gloria’, Jim Morrison, Lenny Bruce, the real inspiration for Astral Weeks and his extraordinary work as a songwriter, who has written 450 songs.
Joining the party are such international admirers as Steve Van Zandt, Mark Knopfler, Matt Berninger and Brandon Flowers, who credits Van with delivering perhaps the greatest vocal performance of all time - but to which song, on what album, does The Killers mainman refer?
Fans can find out in the special Rave On, Van Morrison issue of Hot Press, which also includes a look back at an earlier landmark interview with Van by Niall Stokes; a remarkable, in-depth conversation with legendary Van photographer Norman Seeff, who gives his view of what makes The Man tick artistically, and also reflects on his own equally fabled photo sessions with Ray Charles Jr., Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Steve Jobs and The Rolling Stones.
We publish the full text of the marvellous tribute Bob Geldof delivered when Van was inducted into the Irish Music Hall of Fame in 1999.
There’s also amazing insights from thriller writer and music agent Paul Charles, who went from chain-listening to Van’s music to booking some of his most legendary concerts, including his magnificent 1979 Belfast homecoming show – which we also have a full eyewitness account of, written by then Hot Press' reporter John McKenna (now food writer extraordinaire).
Our man Pat Carty takes deep dives into Veedon Fleece; and the groundbreaking twists and turns his music took in the 1980s, including the masterpiece No Guru, No Method, No Teacher.
· The Van tracks you might not know but have to hear!
· Exclusive photos from the Hot Press archives.
· From The Last Waltz to Astral Weeks Live At The Hollywood Bowl, the best of Van on the big and small screen.
Add in the usual heady Hot Press mix of news, reviews, interviews and Frontlines news reports – Bright Eyes, John Connolly, Gregory Porter, Robert Pattison and Gemma Dunleavy are just some of those featured – and it really is a very special issue that's not to be missed!
Pre-order this historic special issue below: