I haven't written a Udeman homage for some time; longtime readers know the drill: a man over 50 with talent, physical appeal and (the Udeman pinnacle) uncontrived menschiness.
Van the Man has been under consideration for Udeman status for years. My friends who have met him might challenge his elevation, for he is by reports short on criterion #3, reportedly quite difficult, a hairtrigger temper twinned with huge ego. He does not issue adorable quotes about how much he owes to his beloved partner; he's not described as kindly.
What Van has: a mighty intensity of soul welded to songwriting artistry that still moves me to a nearly altered state. A voice that comes from the sensual/spiritual core. Squat and solid, he stands on stage like a man lashed to a mast, and when he feels like it, delivers a fervent witnessing of life that few feel, let alone summon.
He is usually on people's "Music I Would Take to a Desert Island" lists; if I could not take the actual music, I'd replay it in my head.
Born in Belfast of parents of Scots descent, Morrison has said he has "the spirit of Caledonia"–the ancient Roman name for Scotland and Northern Britain–in his soul.
I've attended Van Morrison concerts without Van in attendance, and others where he barely looked at the audience. But a world without Van would be a few blue hues less splendid. Hundreds of artists cover his music, but few offer more than a respectable shadowing.
"Music is spiritual. The music business is not."
- Van Morrison
Listen to the Van the Man's phrasing on "There'll be Days Like This".