It’s “Only A Song,” according to its title, but one written & performed by Van the Man himself. Listen to it here.
Van Morrison has shared the first single from his new album, Latest Record Project: Volume 1. It’s got the sound and spirit of a classic Van Morrison song and single: upbeat, swinging and cool. He merges purity and passion with R&B, rock and roll, blues and whimsy, resulting in a song that is essentially Van, a story told in real-time soul by one of the greatest of the greats.
The lyric is songwriter-oriented more directly than most songs, based on this minimization of the impact and meaning of any one song:
It‘s only a song,
It’s not set in stone,
It’s only a song
from “It’s Only A Song” by Van Morrison
That idea, and the words chosen, echo quite closely what Bob Dylan said about his songs when I interviewed him in 1991. I asked about his song “Precious Angel,” from Slow Train Coming, and he said this:
BOB DYLAN: It could go on forever … When people ask me, “How come you don’t sing that song anymore? “It’s just too much and not enough. … It’s too hard to wonder why about them. To me, they’re not worthy of wondering why about them. They’re songs. They’re not written in stone. They’re on plastic.
PAUL ZOLLO: To us, though, they are written in stone, because Bob Dylan wrote them. I’ve been amazed by the way you’ve changed some of your great songs —
BOB DYLAN: Right. Somebody told me that Tennyson often wanted to rewrite his poems when he saw them in print.
Did Van read our Dylan interview? I hope so. Unless he denies it, I am going to believe he did.
Either way, Van is invited to talk to us anytime. It would be our honor. He’s one of those songwriters whose songs matter forever. His impact on songwriting is vast. People are forever getting through life with the great soulful and lyrical aid of his songs.
And songwriters are forever exulting in those great little details, so specific that they become universal. Randy Newman, and other songwriters, told me they loved his song “Brown-Eyed Girl,” and especially this picture of young romance:
Making love in the green grass
Behind the stadium with you
From “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
“I just love that it’s ‘behind the stadium,'” Randy Newman said.
Latest Record Project: Volume 1 has a great range of songs. And the fact that this is Volume 1 indicates there is more coming, which means the man has been on songwriting fire.
Both “Only A Song” and the recently released title track are provided as instant downloads to fans who pre-order the album. Latest Record Project: Volume 1 will be released May 7 via Exile/BMG on double-CD, deluxe-CD, triple-vinyl, and digital formats.