Van Morrison, the legendary Belfast singer-songwriter, celebrates his birthday today, August 31! We take a look at his life and incredible career.

"Van The Man", Van Morrison was born on August 31, 1945, in Belfast. The singer-songwriter and occasional saxophonist played in a succession of groups, most notably Them, in the mid-1960s before enjoying a long, varied, and increasingly successful solo career.

A Grammy-award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Morrison is among one of the best-known musicians in the world. 

Listen to Van Morrison's most popular tracks on IrishCentral's Spotify Playlist: 

Here are some interesting facts about Van Morrison

1. George Ivan “Van” Morrison was born on August 31, 1945, in Belfast to a working-class Protestant family. He was the only child of George Morrison, a shipyard electrician, and Violet Stitt Morrison, who had once been a singer and tap dancer.

2. He started out as a teenager covering popular hits in clubs in Northern Ireland. His first hit came as a member of a band called "Them" when, in 1964, he wrote and recorded "Gloria," which was the B-side of the single "Baby, Please Don't Go."

3. By 1967, Morrison was a solo artist working for Bang Records executive Bert Berns when he released his hit “Brown Eyed Girl,” which he said he was never paid for. Speaking to the LA Times in 2008 he said, “I call that 'The Money Song' – because they got all the money and I got none. What happened after that is I ended up with zero money. I was broke and depressed and remained that way for many years after that, and I just decided to make a stand for myself and do things my way, not theirs."

4. Morrison released "Moondance" in 1970. It was his first album to sell one million records.

5. Morrison fans are known as “Vanatics.”

6. Morrison is a member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1993, Robbie Robertson, a former member of The Band, said of Morrison, "In the tradition of the great Irish poets and the great soul singers, he is the Caruso of rock and roll."


*Originally published in 2018, updated August 2022.