Vet Morrison: I wanted to be a veterinarian before music called me
Van Morrison has revealed how he almost ended up working as a vet instead of a musician.
The latest Freeman of Belfast told the Guardian newspaper he wanted to work with animals when he was at school.
Asked when he realised he was going to be a musician, the 69-year-old replied: "Not until I left school. When I was in school, I wanted to be a vet. One of the teachers said he thought I was going to be a singer. I sang at the school concert, and we had a skiffle group at school.
"(The teacher) was going around the class saying, 'What are you going to be?' And he pointed at me and said, 'You're going to be a singer, obviously'. And I said: 'Me?' He knew more than I did."
Van also admitted he had not really thought much about a future job when he was young before eventually settling on a medical career helping animals.
"(It was) because I couldn't think what sort of a job I wanted," he said. "So I thought that might be what I could do."
The singer attended Orangefield High in east Belfast, and the name famously featured on his Avalon Sunset album. Last year, he bade a fond farewell to the school he immortalised in song as it closed its doors for the last time with two concerts.
On June 15, Morrison will take to the stage of the Royal Albert Hall along with Eric Burdon, Jools Holland and Billy Bragg to pay tribute to one of his heroes, Lead Belly.
The folk-blues legend has been a major influence on Van since his earliest days in the school skiffle band, though to Them and right up until the present.
Morrison said that, to a young man living in Belfast, Lead Belly's music "was some sort of a spiritual experience".
"I just absorbed it," he added. "I reacted later, but I was absorbing it when I was first hearing it... there was some sort of energy."