Music Monday: Wavelength by Van Morrison

I only know a handful of Van Morrison’s songs, but I enjoy every one of those.

If I had to pick my favorite, it would be Wavelength. It may not be as popular as some of his other songs, but it did reach No. 42 in the U.S.

Here’s a bit of background on the song, courtesy of Wikipedia:

“Wavelength” is the title song from the 1978 album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison.

In his biography, Brian Hinton states that it is, “a love song about the mysterious and unspoken communication between a couple” and also refers to the singer’s adolescent years when he would listen to the Voice of America and the sounds of his favorite artists such as Ray Charles singing “Come back baby, come back”. In the song Morrison refers to his first solo hit single “Brown Eyed Girl”, using the lyrics “Won’t you play that song again for me, about my lover, my lover in the grass”

The Allmusic reviewer wrote that ‘Wavelength’ makes some nods to its era (1978), most notably and obviously via the use of fat 1970s synthesizers—played by Peter Bardens—which play spacy loops that mimic the interference and bubbling feedback one gets when dialing up shortwave radio stations. It is a little bit of cleverness, as Morrison elicits the same feelings on his own recording that he no doubt had discovering his favorite new music.”

There were a few video options to choose from, but I went with the following live one, from Montreux in 1980. I’ve always thought the best part of the studio version of the song was Van Morrison singing, but the instrumentals on this live version are incredible. The intro itself is nearly three minutes, and it’s hard not to get your foot tapping for the final 90 seconds. I also found it humorous that one of the horn players took a drag on a cigarette at about 1:34, and then put it out with his foot right on the stage.

Perhaps it’s in keeping with the album cover, which as you can see above shows Van Morrison with a cigarette in his hand…

*image from Pixels

36 thoughts on “Music Monday: Wavelength by Van Morrison

  1. Very cool sound—rather soulful. Van Morrison was just a little before I started paying attention to music. I do remember Brown-Eyed Girl but nothing else off the top of my head.

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  2. One of the greats. I’d be hard pressed to name a favourite of his, as there have been so many since he started out as the lead singer of the band Them around 1964, before his prolific solo career. If you don’t know many of his songs there are loads of compilation albums to try – they are an excellent place to begin catching up.

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      1. There are quite a few of them, and they include his best known songs. For something a little different, try the one he made with The Chieftains: Irish Heartbeat. It’s a lovely album, and they clearly had fun making it.

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  3. I absolutely LOVE Van Morrison, and I have to agree that “Brown-Eyed Girl” is my all-time favorite song!!! We played it at our wedding (one of my husband’s songs chosen for me) so it holds a special meaning for us!!! He is so prolific and a great talent!!!

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  4. love this one. my fav is ‘have I told you lately’, love his voice, and I’m a huge fan of all of the Irish singers. such soulful songs


  5. I really like Van Morrison, Jim. He has a unique sound. “Into the Mystic” is my favorite. My brother loved that song and we played it at his funeral, so it has a special place in my heart. “Washing Windows” is another favorite for an entirely different mood. Thanks for sharing “Wavelength.” I love that languid jazzy sound – the perfect music to start my day. 😀

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    1. he does have a wonderfully unique voice. I was not familiar with Into the Mystic. or Washing Windows (l found a song called Cleaning Windows, I assume that is the one). I just listened to both of them – and as expected, they were great. I like the sort of funky beat to Cleaning Windows…
      thanks for letting me know about them

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  6. I love, LOVE this song! Here I am, the queen of music, and why on earth have I missed this one? Twenty or thirty plus years ago when “Gloria” made her annual debut, children were shouting out what Gloria would like, and one child said, “Van Morrison.” Really. I never forgot that. Clearly her parents listened to “Wavelength.”

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    1. I’m glad you liked it, Jennie. If you have the time and interest, the studio version of the song has a different sound to it, that really highlights his wonderful voice. And love that story about the child responding with Van Morrison!

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  7. I’ve loved Van for years and got to see him play in Seattle years ago. But I never heard this one before…how did I miss it? Loved it!!! My favorite is And it Stoned Me. I know I’m in the minority here, but my least favorite of his is Brown Eyed Girl. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Van is quite talented. I have not heard of And It Stoned Me, but I just listened to it. Another wonderful Van song – it stoned me to my soul 🙂

      I think I like every version of Brown Eyed Girl I’ve heard, including Van’s.

      Thanks for commenting!

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