The 1968 Van Morrison masterpiece “Astral Weeks” has been voted greatest Irish album ever by a group of top Irish musicians.
U2’s The Edge, Shane MacGowan, Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, Glen Hansard, composer Bill Whelan, Sharon Corr, Gavin Friday and Laura Izibor as well as members of The Saw Doctors, The Blizzards, The Coronas, Republic of Loose, and other bands and musicians all took part as judges for the 250 greatest Irish albums for Hot Press magazine.
U2’s 1991 album “Achtung Baby” is at number two, and the band's “The Joshua Tree” is at number five.
Thin Lizzy’s classic “Live and Dangerous” is at number three, while My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” is at number four.
Whipping Boy’s 1995 album “Heartworm” is at number six, The Undertones’ album of the same name is at number seven and The Pogues’ “Rum, Sodomy and the Lash” is at number eight. Ash's album “1977” is at nine and Damien Rice's “O” is at number ten.
Last year Morrison celebrated the 40th anniversary of “Astral Weeks” by playing every track at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
That album entitled “Astral Weeks Live” at the Hollywood Bowl was later released..
Morrison has said the album is “timeless and unchanging”.
The original album was recorded after a very difficult time for Morrison when Bert Berns, owner of his record label Bang, died of a heart attack after falling out with Morrison. His wife Ilene Berns blamed Morrison and attempted to have him deported, a fate he only escaped after marrying his girlfriend Janet Planet Rigsbee.