Archive for the ‘Van Morrison v Bob Dylan’ Category

Van Morrison – a greater talent than Dylan?

July 22, 2009

Thanks to Andrew Robertson:

No surprise that Oh Mercy was rated the best Dylan album of this period (1978-89) – it was, indeed, the only album of that period that I would rate as a classic Dylan album or potentially a Desert Island Disc.

To provoke debate among other music lovers (and perhaps to annoy Dylan Diehards) I would like to repeat my previously expressed view that this confirms Van Morrison as the greater music talent, and indeed, the greatest in contemporary music.

The same period (1978-89) was Morrison’s second golden era in which he produced 6 “rolled gold” classics, as follows (in chronological order):
Into The Music
Common One
Beautiful Vision
No Guru No Method No Teacher
Poetic Champions Compose
Avalon Sunset

In addition, several other worthy additions to his canon (also in chronological order):
Wavelength
Inarticulate Speech of the Heart
Live at the Belfast Grand Opera House
A Sense of Wonder
Irish Heartbeat (with the Chieftains)

And not one weak album, not one that is not a worthy addition to my music collection.

A very significant difference to Dylan’s output from the same years, as your reader poll confirms.

Ah, but what of Dylan’s early years, do I hear you – and Bernard McGuinn – say (defiantly)?

OK, ignoring Bob Dylan, on which he only wrote 2 tracks, Dylan’s only golden era comprised 7 albums of which 4 were “rolled gold” classics:
Freewheelin’
Bringing It All Back Home
Highway 61 Revisited
Blonde on Blonde

While 3 were simply excellent:
The Times They Are A-Changing
Another Side
John Wesley Harding

In Van Morrison’s case, ignoring Them and the Bang output, his first golden era also comprised 7 albums of which, similarly, 4 were “rolled gold” classics:
Astral Weeks
Moondance
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Veedon Fleece

While 3 were simply excellent:
His Band and the Street Choir
Tupelo Honey
Hard Nose the Highway

I would argue that Morrison’s “best of the best” (namely Astral Weeks) is better than Dylan’s but putting arguably subjective judgments aside, my point is that Morrison had two golden eras compared to Dylan’s one (not that Dylan hasn’t had other great albums – Oh Mercy being a case in point – however he hasn’t, in my opinion, had another sustained period of such extraordinary excellence).

Let the debate begin…

Andrew in Adelaide