Belfast Telegraph

Van the Man opens up on being stalked, the price of fame, and that 1976 routine

By Ivan Little

Belfast megastar Sir Van Morrison has revealed that he's been the victim of stalking.

The 72-year-old singer also talked about the pressures of fame on musicians like Amy Whitehouse, who died six years ago from alcohol poisoning.

But on a lighter note, Morrison spoke of his embarrassment at his famous high-kicking routine at an American concert over 40 years ago which is now part of rock and roll history.

Morrison was talking in a Radio 2 interview to promote his new blues record, Roll With the Punches, which has entered the top 10 album charts in the UK.

The interviewer, former Manfred Mann front man Paul Jones, who sings on one of the tracks called Fame, asked Morrison why he wrote the song which refers to how "everyone's corrupted by fame".

Jones started by observing that Morrison was "very antagonistic to fame", but the star, from Hyndford Street in Belfast, denied that was the case.

Morrison said "one dimensional" rock magazine journalists always kept "rattling on" that he had a strange attitude to fame or the music business.

"This subject of fame has been written about quite extensively and we know people it has really messed up - people that have died as recently as Amy Whitehouse," he said.

Amy Winehouse

"I don't know why they keep having a go at me for writing about it."

Morrison said the song Fame was about stalking as well, "in its various forms because I have been stalked".

He didn't give any more details about the harassment and didn't disclose if it was an isolated incident. Morrison, who is fiercely protective of his privacy, also didn't mention if the stalking was long term or how the problem was resolved.

Later in the interview, Jones asked Morrison about his participation in The Band's iconic farewell concert in San Francisco in 1976 which was turned into an award-winning movie, The Last Waltz, by Martin Scorsese.

At the end of his performance of the song Caravan with the rock group, Morrison, in a sparkling purple suit and brown T-shirt, exited the stage throwing his arms in the air and kicking up his feet.

Even though Morrison said he looked back at the Last Waltz with great affection, he added that he was very embarrassed at his antics.

The star said people often asked him about the "kicking thing".

He added: "I look at it now and I wonder, my God, why did I do that?"

Morrison also featured in a memorable live concert performance of the Pink Floyd album The Wall in Berlin in 1990.

Over 350,000 people attended the show at the former no-man's land of the Berlin Wall but Morrison said he had no recollection of his appearance at the historic event.

"I was doing a gig that afternoon at a festival in Cologne with my band and afterwards I got on a plane to Berlin where I did the song and I don't remember any of it."

In the interview, Jones asked Morrison why he changed the lyrics of his cover version of a song which was once a hit for Ray Charles. "I forgot the words," laughed Morrison.

Belfast Telegraph


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