.

100 Greatest Singers

24

Van Morrison


Van Morrison
Rivas/AFP/Getty
24/100

Born August 31st, 1945
Key Tracks "Brown Eyed Girl," "Moondance," "Tupelo Honey"
Influenced Elvis Costello, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Ray LaMontagne

John Lee Hooker called Van Morrison "my favorite white blues singer." Morrison has left his mark on over 40 years' worth of rock, blues, folk, jazz and soul, as well as several genres that only really exist on his records. He's the most painterly of vocalists, a master of unexpected phrasing whose voice can transform lyrics into something abstract and mystical — most famously on his repetition of ". . . and the love that loves the love . . .," on "Madame George," from Astral Weeks. Morrison's growls and ululations inspired singers from Bob Seger to Bruce Springsteen to Dave Matthews. Sometimes they can even be an overwhelming influence: Bono said that he had to stop listening to Morrison's records before making U2's The Unforgettable Fire because "I didn't want his very original soul voice to overpower my own."

 
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