Top 10 Van Morrison Albums Ranked With Complete Discography

Van Morrison Albums

Photo: Bengt Oberger, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Van Morrison albums list looks at the brilliant body of work of one of the most prolific musical artists of the past sixty years years. Born in Northern Ireland, Van Morrisons celtic roots have long played a major role in his music as well as the genres of soul and rock and roll. and at times demeanor. Van Morrison’s professional career began in the mid 1960s as a member of the band Them. In 1967, Van Morrison began his solo career releasing his first album entitled Blowin’ Your Mind! which was really just a compilation of songs that were intended to be just released as singles and some throw away tracks by his record company. Despite the albums shortcomings, it did contain what would become one of his ealy signatures songs in the track “Brown Eyed Girl.”

Van Morrison second album Astral Week would set the tone for the rest of his career. To this date, most critics and a large percentage of his fans believe it is Van Morrison’s ultimate masterpiece and his greatest album of his career. It stands as one of the most highly rated and respected albums ever released. His next album entitled Moondance would turn Van Morrison into an International star.

Stardom was something Van Morrison never seemed to be interested in. Despite amazing success in the rock and roll world, Van Morrison has always been the anti-Rock Star type. Van Morrison has done very few interviews through his career. He has always shunned the spotlight and it’s only recently that his views against the pandemic lockdowns have surfaced in the press. Eve on stage, Van Morrison lets his bandmates do all the talking to the audiences as he stands usually more towards the back of the stage hiding behind dark sunglasses and usually a long overcoat and hat. Yet, despite his lack of stage presence, his vocals and music completely overwhelm the audiences delivering a musical performance of the highest quality.

Van Morrison has been one of the most consistent solo musical artists in classic rock history. He has never stopped releasing albums since his 1967 debut. Van Morrison has so far released forty two studio albums in his career. That number will continue to grow as the man is still active in releasing new material. His latest album entitled Latest Record Project, Volume 1 was just released in 2021 and stands as a two CD set containing twenty eight new songs. Van Morrison has actually been more productive in the past five years as he has been throughout his entire career as he has released seven new albums in just the past five years. That’s what we call prolific.

In addition to the forty two solo studio albums, Van Morrison has also released seven live albums, nine compilation albums and eighty singles. Our top 10 Van Morrison albums list is meant more for fans that are unfamiliar with his work and set to serve the purpose of introducing some of his best records from various points in his career. It is meant to be utilized as just a starting point as there is so much more to discover form this once in a lifetime artist.

# 10 – Hymns to the Silence

We open up our top 10 Van Morrison Albums list with Van Morrison’s grand two CD set entitled Hymns To The Silence. The album was originally released in two single cd cases as opposed to the traditional double CD cLam cases that 2 cd sets were released in during the CD’s golden era of the 1990s. Hymns To The Silence would stand as Van Morrison’s first double studio album of his career. The album was released in 1990. What one will notice immediately upon listing to the album is just how good the sound quality of the record is. The separation between the instruments is simply outstanding as it gives one a feeling that the band is performing right in your living room. It’s one of the best sounding CDs I have ever heard.

How does a man write so many great songs for just one album and make it sound so easy. The albums is a mix of spiritual songs that really don’t sound too spiritual but you know it’s there. There are various other styles of music included on the record from soul to r&b to gospel to celtic to just about everything. Most of the album’s twenty one tracks are originals with a couple of traditional pieces thrown in, The one cover is a soaring version of Don Gibson’s “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Overall this is a great way to start out our Van Morrison albums list as it serves as a record that defines so many of his styles in a spectacular sounding package.

# 9 – Avalon Sunset

Continuing with our top 10 Van Morrison Albums list we take a listen to the sensational album Avalon Sunset. This is one of his best 1980’s releases. It capped of a decade in which Van Morrison turned to spiritual themes in similar fashion to what Bob Dylan went through in his late 70s born again period. Yet, Van Morrison keeps the spirituality a little more ambiguous in the material with the exception of the album’s opening track “Whenever God Shines His Light.” The album contained one of the biggest songs of Van Morrison’s career in the beautiful and soulful ballad entitled “Have I Told You Lately.”

# 8 – Too Long in Exile

In the number eight spot on our Top 10 Van Morrison Albums list we present the album Too Long In Exile. Van Morrison takes a break from his spiritual period and heads deep into the blues and jazz. Fans of his early 1970s work were ecstatic ats this change. To cap off the blues immersions, Van Morrison recorded the album with blues legend John Lee Hooker. There are some great cover versions of classic blues songs recorded for the album including outstanding reads on songs such as “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” and “The Lonesome Road.”

# 7 – Beautiful Vision

Van Morrison’s wonderful album Beautiful Vision was released 1982. The album sort of got lost among the new wave era and the popularity of MTV in 1982. Nonetheless, it’s a brilliant album that featured some big time rock stars which was unusual for a Van Morrison album. The great Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits played guitar on the album’s standout cut “Cleaning Windows.” Steve Miller’s drummer Gary Mallaber who also played with Bruce Springsteen and many other legendary rockers played drums on the track. Other standout cuts that became concert staples all throughout the 80s included the songs “Dweller on the Threshold” “Beautiful Vision,” and “Vanlose Stairway.”

# 6 –Tupelo Honey

There are a lot of Van Morrison fans who would just chooses Van Morrison’s first ten albums of his career as his top 10. It’s hard to argue against that as Van Morrison released an unbelievable series of brilliant albums early in his career. One of those would be the magnificent album Tupelo Honey. Long a favorite among many Van Morrison fans the album takes the listener on a ride through the countryside in shoes filled with r&b and soul. It mixes it up as all great Van Morrison albums do but yet the countryside of things is more present in this album than most Van Morrison records. The album spawned the hit single “Wild Night,” which was later covered by John Mellencamp.

 # 5 – Wavelength

Everyone has their favorite Van Morrison period. Ours was his late 1970s period. One of the albums from that period stands as the phenomenal album entitled Wavelength. The album was released in 1978. Fueled by the very successful hit single “Wavelength” the album would become Van Morrison’s biggest selling album so far. The record also included the song “Hungry For You Love,” which was placed in the movie An Officer And A Gentleman a few years later. Other standout tracks included the album’s opening track “Kingdom Hall,” and the breathtaking song “Natalia.”

# 4 – Saint Dominic’s Preview

At the number four spot on our top 10 Van Morrison Albums list we present the album entitled Saint Dominic’s Preview . Van Morrison put on his soul pants for this one. While the album’s cover may have been a little misleading as to what type of music may appear on the record, as soon as the needle was dropped on the albums opening track “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)” it was clear that Van Morrison has taken a huge step in his musical directions. This was truly a groundbreaking album in his career and was preview of all the styles of music he would soon explore.

# 3 – Astral Weeks

I am sure there will be some fans that will be pretty upset that we did not put Astral Weeks at number one, let alone placing it at number three. It is regarded by many as Van Morrison’s masterpiece. Van Morrison once described the writing for the album as being engaged in a “stream of consciousness,” that just took over. It’s an album that is as organic as one could get to connecting with the themes of earth and love. Released in 1968 it’s also a product of the times. Most people who love this album were teenagers when it first came out. It’s an album that connects people to a certain in their lives.  It’s a great record but we don’t believe it’s his best and we only ranked it this high out of respect for all those who love this album.

# 2 – Into The Music

This one is probably the surprise of the lists. It shouldn’t be because it’s simply one of the best albums he has ever released. Hands down it’s his most melodic and romantic record he ever composed. Maybe that’s why some people don’t like it. It’s also another album that got lost during the popularity of new wave music at the end of the 1970s as the album was released in 1979. While Bruce Springsteen once claimed that Van Morrison was one of his influences, it’s easy to hear that the tables were turned on this album as Van Morrison seemed to be influenced by Springsteen’s music on this album. The piano stands front and center on many of the albums glorious tracks. The opening track on the album entitled Bright Side of the Road was the lead single. However it’s side two where we find the most gorgeous and emotional  tracks on the record. Songs like “Angeliou” “And the Healing Has Begun” and “It’s All in the Game” are just striking performances that will forever be some of the best recordings he has ever laid down on vinyl.

# 1 – Moondance

We wrap up our top 10 Van Morrison Albums list with the album Moondance. This was Van Morrison’s third solo album and the record that brought him stardome. The song Moondance would become a new standard crossing the genres of pop rock and jazz. It would serve as an inspiration for so many musicians like Bruce Springsteen whose song “Kitty’s Back,” was very much inspired by Moondance. Other standout tracks from the album included “And It Stoned Me” “Caravan,” Into The Mystic, Crazy Love and just about every songs on the record. This one was perfect.

Van Morrison Complete Studio Albums Discography

Blowin’ Your Mind!

Released in 1967

Astral Weeks

Released in 1968

Moondance

Released in 1970

His Band and the Street Choir

Released in 1970

Tupelo Honey

Released in 1971

Saint Dominic’s Preview

Released in 1972

Hard Nose the Highway

Released in 1973

Veedon Fleece

Released in 1974

A Period of Transition

Released in 1977

Wavelength

Released in 1978

Into the Music

Released in 1979

Common One

Released in 1980

Beautiful Vision

Released in 1982

Inarticulate Speech of the Heart

Released in 1983

A Sense of Wonder

Released in 1985

No Guru, No Method, No Teacher

Released in 1986

Poetic Champions Compose

Released in 1987

Irish Heartbeat  with The Chieftains 

Released in 1988

Avalon Sunset

Released in 1989

Enlightenment

Released in 1990

Hymns to the Silence

Released in 1991

Too Long in Exile

Released in 1993

Days Like This

Released in 1995

How Long Has This Been Going On

Released in 1995

Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison

Released in 1996

The Healing Game

Released in 1997

Back on Top

Released in 1999

You Win Again

Released in 2000

Down the Road

Released in 2002

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Released in 2003

Magic Time

Released in 2005

Pay the Devil

Released in 2006

Keep It Simple

Released in 2008

Born to Sing: No Plan B

Released in 2012

Duets: Re-working the Catalogue

Released in 2015

Keep Me Singing

Released in 2016

Roll with the Punches

Released in 2017

Versatile

Released in 2017

You’re Driving Me Crazy

Released in 2018

The Prophet Speaks

Released in 2018

Three Chords & the Truth

Released in 2019

Latest Record Project, Volume 1

Released in 2021

Top 10   article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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