Can You Feel the Silence?: Van Morrison - A New Biography

Overview

This groundbreaking biography of a brilliant but disturbed performer explores the paradox of the man and the artist. Based on more than 100 interviews, this intelligent profile explores Morrison's roots; the hard times he went through in London, New York, and Boston; the making of his seminal albums Moondance and Astral Weeks; and the disastrous business arrangements that left Morrison hungry and penniless while his songs were topping the charts. Detailed are the breakdown of Morrison's marriage, the creative ...

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Overview

This groundbreaking biography of a brilliant but disturbed performer explores the paradox of the man and the artist. Based on more than 100 interviews, this intelligent profile explores Morrison's roots; the hard times he went through in London, New York, and Boston; the making of his seminal albums Moondance and Astral Weeks; and the disastrous business arrangements that left Morrison hungry and penniless while his songs were topping the charts. Detailed are the breakdown of Morrison's marriage, the creative drought that followed, and his triumphant reemergence. In addition, this biography attempts to explain the forbidding aspects of Morrison's persona, such as paranoia, hard drinking, misanthropy, as well as why, in the words of his one-time singing partner Linda Gail Lewis, Morrison's music "brings happiness to other people, not him." Also included is a Van Morrision sessionography that spans 1964 to 2001.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A terrific, detailed look at Van Morrison's life. . . . Particularly fascinating is the portrait of the artist as a young R&B fan in Belfast. . . . Silence should prove indispensable for Morrisonites—and a must for anyone who enjoys tales of tortured stars behaving badly." —Entertainment Weekly

"For long-suffering admirers, Silence both deepens his enigma and gives various aspects of the tortured-genius myth a kick in the Astral Weeks." —The Village Voice

"A meticulously researched account of Morrison's life and work. Silence is loaded with stories of the man's misdeeds, not to mention plenty of dish about the singer's cantankerous dislike of record companies and biographers." —Rolling Stone

Hartford Advocate
The most thoroughly researched and documented portrait of Morrison we are ever likely to have.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556525421
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 800,716
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Clinton Heylin is the author of Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades, Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry, and No More Sad Refrains: The Life and Times of Sandy Denny.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Don't bother!

    Van Morrison is a talent unto himself. Gifted? No doubt! His life was a roller coaster ride, and open to the public, for the most part. This book was a he said/she said, blow by boring blow of the most mundane and ponderous points on Van's rise and fall and rise and fall, etc. If the author would have possibly just wrote about the statements given by those he interviewed, I would have been more interested. Way too much ho-hum details of a "not so much" boring man. A real yawner!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2003

    Why Must I Always Explain?

    Pathography masquerading as biography, Heylin's new bio of one of contemporary music's most difficult, enigmatic, and private of artists, is--despite its impressive research and hefty length--fatally marred by the author's critical inability to bring to his subject and its matter anything approaching an evenhanded or insightful interpretation of the man, his music, or their place in pop cultural history. Instead, we are treated in mindless and tedious detail to anecdote heaped upon anecdote intended, apparently, to prove the far from original thesis that while Mr. Morrison may on occasion make some nice music, in real life he is quite a nasty fellow indeed. This is old news. What is worse, it is mind-numbingly boring news. Mr. Heylin gets five stars for his research, but as a interpreter of human nature, a critic of popular art forms, and a literary stylist, he is, regrettably self-evidently both out of his league and in over his head vis-a-vis the transcendant richness and complexity of his material. The definitive biography of George Ivan Morrison is yet to be written. This one, while essential reading for Van fans, fails to answer the very questions such fans most hanker to know: Is the music likely to endure? Does the artist's personal behavior bear in any meaningful way upon his art? If it does, how and in what measure? What is the source, not only of the transcendant quality of the artist's music, but of the peculiarly deep, ongoing, and apparently irreconcilable disparity or contradiction between the sublime joyousness so often on display in the music, and the apparent joylessness on display in his private life? Heylin's no hack, the book is no hatchet job, but both fail in this instance to get at anything like the whole truth about the subject at hand. Sad.

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