Fifty years ago Van Morrison released Astral Weeks, an album that has stayed in the ‘all-time great album’ lists ever since.
It was something of a flop on its release, but in the years since has gained a near mythical reputation and sells steadily to this day.
Astral Weeks was recorded in less than two days in New York with a group of jazzers assembled by producer Lewis Merenstein.
Poetic, mysterious and dreamlike it remains one of Morrison’s finest achievements. His next release Moondance yielded radio play and hits and launched a career that thrives to this day, but it was Astral Weeks that announced him as an artist to the world.
Musicologist and senior lecturer in the Department of Music at the University of Otago, Graeme Downes, joins Lynn Freeman to talk about Astral Weeks.