Van Morrison Astral Weeks

It is one of rock’s least-likely masterworks. Van Morrison had made a name for himself as the lead singer of the Belfast bar band Them, which achieved immortality with the garage anthem “Gloria.” He then signed a solo deal in the US, skimming the Top Ten with the irresistible singalong “Brown-Eyed Girl,” but he dismissed the album that came from those sessions. Signing with Warner Bros. Records, Morrison then assembled a bunch of jazz-based players, took them into a New York studio, and emerged two days later with Astral Weeks, a languid, impressionistic, utterly gorgeous song cycle that sounded like nothing he had done previously — and really, nothing anyone had done previously. Morrison sings of lost love, death, and nostalgia for childhood in the Celtic soul that would become his signat