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Saturday, February 28, 1970

Van Morrison released Moondance: February 28, 1970

Originally posted February 28, 2012.

image from artspace.com


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) And It Stoned Me / Moondance (11/19/77, #92 US) / Crazy Love / Caravan / Into the Mystic / Come Running (4/4/70, #39 US) / These Dreams of You / Brand New Day / Everyone / Glad Tidings

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US

Peak: 29 US, 32 UK

Rating:


Review: “Van Morrison had high expectations to live up to after” RV “the dreamy acoustic sound of Astral WeeksTL and its “celestial poetry.” RV The “Irish musician didn’t disappoint;” RV he responded by serving up “the brilliant,” AMG “light, soulful, and jazzy Moondance.” AMG It “is every bit as much a classic as its predecessor.” AMG

Part of the genius of Van’s one-two punch with the two albums is that they “are so distinct they almost sound as if they’ve come from different artists.” EK He “move[s] away from the folk template and stream-of-consciousness lyrics into a more rock-driven arena with sharper storytelling and touches of Americana.” JM It makes Moondance a “far more accessible follow-up” EK with “succinct shots of rock and jazz and healthy doses of R&B.” JM Van “put more emphasis on the orchestrations of his bluesy melodies” RV by building “his arrangements around a powerful horn section, veering more toward the punchy, old-school R&B he loved than Astral’s jazzy meanderings.” TL Any “debates about the authenticity of blue-eyed soul ring hollow when one listens to Van the Man.” VB

Thematically, Moondance “retains the previous album’s deeply spiritual thrust but transcends its bleak, cathartic intensity to instead explore themes of renewal and redemption.” AMG He continues to swing “back and forth between the mystical and the earthy. It happens musically, and…lyrically…He’s a dewy-eyed romantic and a cranky curmudgeon—sometimes within the same song.” EK “Ireland’s finest R&B acolyte married mysticism and mojo into a collection of sexual rebirth and redemption.” VB

And It Stoned Me

“Morrison’s singing got more aggressive, too.” TL as he delivers “a more precise blast of R&B energy, but he still wails himself into another consciousness in places.” EK He “sings about fishing, swimming, rain and drinking, but his voice gives it an epic feel.” RV The album kicks off with the “lush, ethereal And It Stoned MeRV which uses a “sweetly nostalgic” AMG message and “pastoral imagery” AMG to deliver what feels “like a fable of self-discovery.” RV

Caravan (with The Band)

That song establishes “the dominant lyrical motif recurring throughout the album – virtually every track exults in natural wonder.” AMG “At the heart of the record is” AMG “the glorious Caravan,” TL “an incantatory ode to the power of radio.” AMG

Crazy Love (with Ray Charles)

There’s also “the unlimited promise offered in” AMG “the gospel-flavored Brand New DayTL and “Crazy Love is his most romantic song.” RV There’s “the immortal, swinging title trackTL celebrating “nocturnal magic” AMG which has become “a staple of prep schools and lounge acts to this day, and still none the worse for wear.” TL

Moondance (with Dr. John, Santana, and Etta James)

“He kept his croony side, though, on the murmuring” TL and “majestic Into the Mystic.” AMG The song has “such elemental beauty and grace” AMG that it could be considered his “greatest ballad” RV and “arguably the quintessential Morrison moment.” AMG It is “a hauntingly sublime work that evokes feelings of extreme longing. When he finishes with the line, ‘It’s too late to stop now,’ music-lovers couldn’t agree more.” RVMoondance seems to have it all.” JM

Into the Mystic


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Simon & Garfunkel hit #1 with “Bridge Over Troubled Water”: February 28, 1970

Originally posted February 28, 2012.



In the 1958 song “Mary Don’t You Weep” Reverend Claude Jeter wrote the lyric “I’ll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in me.” WK Paul Simon used it as the basis for his slightly better known “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” “A narrator (who could be God, a parent, a lover, or a friend) pledges to help someone in adversity, to be ‘like a bridge over troubled water.’” AMG

Simon originally wrote the song on guitar TB and tried to sing it in falsetto, before deciding Art Garfunkel’s voice was better suited to the song. AMG Garfunkel disputed Simon’s contention that it was the best song he’d ever written AMG and thought Simon should sing it. As Simon said in 1972, “Many times I think I’m sorry I didn’t do it.” RS500 “In the earlier days when things were smoother I never would have thought that, but towards the end when things were strained I did. It’s not a very generous thing to think, but I did think that.” BR1

The duo disagreed with Clive Davis, then CBS Records president, over releasing the ballad as the album’s lead single, but Davis won out. AMG The result was the top pop single of the year. AMG




The song became an instant favorite to cover. It was current, but not really a rock and roll song, which gave it broad appeal. The R&B community seized on the song’s gospel feel while the country world latched on to the religious implications of the song. By the close of the year, 24 charted albums had featured the song. Since 1970, it has been recorded by hundreds of artists. AMG

In all its renditions, it has built up more than 7 million airplays, making it one of the top ten most played songs in radio history. The song has also sold more than 6 million worldwide and topped the US and UK charts.




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