4 Books Every Van Morrison Fan Should Read

Irish-born singer/songwriter Van Morrison is best known for his early hit “Brown Eyed Girl,” but is also one of modern music’s most prolific songwriters. The now 78-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member has spent most of his life harnessing inspiration and creating music that spans across genre lines.

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Although his creative talents are immense, Morrison’s career has gone through many turbulent moments over the decades. After finding critical and commercial success throughout the 1970s, he embraced experimentation, which didn’t as easily connect with listeners.

He enjoyed a career renaissance in the 1990s, partially motivated by the release of his celebrated compilation album, The Best of Van Morrison. That momentum has somewhat leveled out in recent years, which slowed even more after Morrison made repeated statements against social distancing measures and efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the early months of the pandemic.

[RELATED: 15 Thought-Provoking Quotes from Van Morrison]

A complicated and, at times, controversial figure, Van Morrison still intrigues listeners with his distinctly unique perspectives on the world. Here are four captivating Van Morrison books that introduce readers to the moments and music that shaped him.

1. Lit Up Inside

Morrison offers a curated collection of his most impactful lyrical writings across a fifty-year period in this 2014 release. Featuring an enlightening foreword by Ian Rankin, Lit Up Inside spotlights the singer/songwriter’s long-lasting poetic genius.

2. Can You Feel the Silence?: Van Morrison

This 2004 autobiography from author Clinton Heylin sources dozens of interviews throughout Morrison’s career to paint a picture of his life, including the most difficult personal and creative periods. An engaging but at times difficult read, Can You Feel the Silence? takes a revealing look at his complicated past. 

3. Keep ‘Er Lit

Released six years after Lit Up Inside, this companion book from Morrison highlights over 100 more written works from his extensive songbook. Keep ‘Er Lit highlights a mix of more recent album cuts and older favorites that weren’t included in his first printed compilation.

4. Van Morrison: No Surrender

Author Johnny Rogan largely pivots away from musical criticism to focus on the human qualities and historical context around the many eras of Morrison’s career. No Surrender gives readers added context around the political and social climate within Belfast, the Irish city where Morrison spent his childhood, and the influence it left on him and his work.

(Photo by Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images)

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