Sir Van Morrison holds a special place in Northern Irish hearts. A songwriter of genius, allied to the sensibility of a poet, he is a cultural icon up there with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
But he means more than that to us. He has told our stories in his songs, from the early days of Astral Weeks with its references to Cyprus Avenue and Sandy Row, to getting "lemonade and Paris buns" in Cleaning Windows, to "stopping off at St John's Point" in Coney Island, to Days Like This and the peace process.
He has shown that the fabric of our lives here is worthy of the highest art.
And that ain't a small legacy.
While many abroad see him as curmudgeon, we here recognise a typical Ulsterman who doesn't want to be bothered by the intrusive fripperies of fame. He just wants to get on with the job of creating sublime music.
But none of the above doesn't mean he isn't capable of being mistaken.
Normally I'd die in a ditch to defend Sir Van, but his decision to release three protest songs against safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is just flat out wrong.
In one track, No More Lockdown, Morrison sings: "No more lockdown/No more government overreach/No more fascist bullies/Disturbing our peace… No more taking of our freedom/And our God-given rights/pretending it's for our safety/When it's really to enslave"
Of course Sir Van can use his medium to say whatever he wishes but critics - and there are many - have just as much right to challenge him
He then goes on to criticise "Imperial College scientists making up crooked facts" and (irony alert) condemns "celebrities telling us what we're supposed to feel" - though Sir Van denies he's doing this. "I'm not telling people what to do or think," he said in a statement. "The government is doing a great job of that already. It's about freedom of choice. I believe people should have the right to think for themselves."
Of course Sir Van can use his medium to say whatever he wishes but critics - and there are many - have just as much right to challenge him. Health minister Robin Swann has described the singer's sentiments as "dangerous".
"Fascist bullies"? That gives the impression of police batons and cells overcrowded with political prisoners. Which is odd considering the all-night house parties that have been taking place this week in Belfast's Holyland area. Rave on, rave on, as you might say, Sir.
And why, for goodness sake, would the government want to enslave us anyway? If anything, ministers have been trying to coerce us all back into offices, sandwich shops, cafes, pubs and hotels. Which we have largely ignored. So much for the enslavement strategy, then.
Maybe there is something of the thran Belfastman in Sir Van's evident exasperation at not being able to work as normal. At 75, still an active man and spectacularly productive, of course he wants to get back on stage. That's where he feels at home - as opposed to actually being stuck in the house as many older people were advised to do.
Life being put on hold has been tough.
And he's right about the toll being wreaked on the artistic community which was the first to lockdown and seems destined to be the last to reopen, lagging far behind pet-grooming salons, gyms and bars. Such is the crisis, Hollywood star Liam Neeson is among those calling for help for the beleaguered sector.
But science is science. It's about facts. There is a virus called Covid-19. It is a fact that it is killing people, especially the elderly and vulnerable. It is a fact that it's easily spread. Yes, it's a fact that many recover quickly but medical evidence also suggests some will be left with serious long-term health issues.
Many already feel the pandemic is already spiralling out of control here.
Robin Swann, who introduced further postcode restrictions this week, went on to say: "Our messaging is about saving lives, so if Van wanted to sing about saving lives, that's more in keeping with where we are at this minute."
Admittedly, Mr Swann's words do not make for a great lyric, but they tell the truth. This is scary stuff.
I've just watched the space drama Away on Netflix and it was wonderful to hear a Van song - Into the Mystic - used as part of the soundtrack, as the craft headed out towards Mars.
But the reality is it's time we all took a more down-to-earth approach to protecting lives during the pandemic.