Richly deserved recognition for musical legend Van Morrison
Arise, Sir Van the Man will not quite be the order of the day when Van Morrison receives his knighthood at Buckingham Palace, but this rare honour is a fitting commentary on his immense stature in popular music.
This is a story of a boy from east Belfast who has taken the musical world by storm over many decades, because of his talent as an outstanding songwriter and musician.
He made his name the hard way — first with the group Them, and later through the progressive flowering of his talent. A whole series of albums have become classics, and a wide range of songs feature regularly in the concerts of many other musicians on any night across the globe.
Astral Weeks, Moondance, Brown-Eyed Girl and other standards immediately send long-time (and new) Morrison fans into raptures. He has also varied his output and some years ago a country and western album became a bestseller.
Morrison has rightly received many awards and honours. They include six Grammys and a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, as well as the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
He was also given the Freedom of Belfast by the city council. On that occasion, Van said little on stage but he spoke eloquently in the way he knows best — by staging a superb concert afterwards.
The Honours List also reflects the achievements of many other people as well as high-profile figures such as Van Morrison, and these are a deserved recognition of the efforts and of other local people.
They include the champion ploughman Hugh Barr, who at 89 is the oldest recipient of a prized accolade as we also report in today’s Belfast Telegraph.
For everyone, well-known and lesser so, an Investiture ceremony is one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime. As Van Morrison has reminded all of us, “There’ll be days like this!”