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