Full Force Gale
|"Full Force Gale"|
|Single by Van Morrison|
|from the album Into the Music|
|A-side||"Full Force Gale"|
|B-side||"Bright Side of the Road"|
|Recorded||Spring 1979 at the Record Plant Studios, Sausalito, California|
|Van Morrison singles chronology|
Recording and composition
The song has a moderately fast 4/4 tempo. It is in the key of D major. The song's introduction uses the chords D-A-G-A-D-G-D-A, while the verses use the chord progression D-A-G-D-A-G-D-A-G-A-D-A. The bridge uses the progression Bm-G-A. The song features a slide guitar solo by Ry Cooder.
In the lyrics Morrison describes the feeling of encounters with "the Lord". Biographer Peter Mills said that "It is a physical effect - he is "lifted up again" as if by a natural force, the full-force gale being a simile for this: 'Like a full force gale'". Because of this Mills concluded that Into the Music has religious elements to it: "Into the Music is New Testament, dealing with forgiveness, love and kindness."
When biographer Steve Turner asked the singer about the theme of rebirth that occurs quite often in his songs, Morrison answered, "I wrote a song called 'Full Force Gale' in which I said 'No matter where I roam/I will find my way back home/I will always return to the Lord'. That answers it for me. No matter what I might say at the present, that's my feeling about that."
Allmusic's reviewer, P.G. Ward, calls it: "Essentially a brisk pop tune, Morrison sings it with great fervour and commitment, delivering simple couplets such as 'In the gentle evening breeze/In the whispering shady trees/I will find my sanctuary in the Lord' with immense skill. The arrangement is also magnificent, with the fiddle part a particular joy..." He goes on to say: "Into the Music is one of Van Morrison's finest albums, and 'Full Force Gale' is arguably its finest track."
As described by Brian Hinton, "'Full Force Gale' has the cheerful punch of the best gospel singing, and sees Van 'lifted up by the Lord' ... as with Wordsworth, the divine is perceived not through religious teachings but through nature ... "
Appearance on other albums
- "Full Force Gale" is also featured on the 1990 compilation album The Best of Van Morrison.
- A live version appeared on the 1984 CD Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast.
- This song is one of the hits re-mastered in 2007 and included on the compilation album, Still on Top - The Greatest Hits.
- Van Morrison: vocal, guitar
- Herbie Armstrong: guitar
- Ry Cooder: slide guitar
- Pee Wee Ellis: tenor saxophone
- David Hayes: bass
- Mark Isham: trumpet
- Mark Jordan: piano
- Toni Marcus: violin
- Katie Kissoon: backing vocals
- Peter Van Hooke: drums
- Elvis Costello - his version appears on the 1994 tribute album, No Prima Donna: The Songs of Van Morrison and also on Costello's own 1995 album, Kojak Variety.
- Heylin. Can You Feel the Silence?, p.523
- Van Morrison Anthology, p.74-77
- Mills. Hymns to the Silence, p.325
- Turner. Too Late to Stop Now, p.142
- Ward, P.G. "Full Force Gale at allmusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
- Hinton. Celtic Crossroads, p.220
- Handelman, David. "Elvis Costello's 21-artist salute". salon.com. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
- Hinton, Brian (1997). Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison, Sanctuary, ISBN 1-86074-169-X
- Heylin, Clinton (2003), Can You Feel the Silence? Van Morrison: A New Biography, London: Viking, ISBN 0-670-89321-8
- Mills, Peter (2010), Hymns to the Silence: Inside the Words and Music of Van Morrison, London: Continuum, ISBN 978-0-8264-2976-6
- Turner, Steve (1993). Van Morrison: Too Late to Stop Now, Viking Penguin, ISBN 0-670-85147-7
- Van Morrison Anthology, London: Wise Publications, ISBN 0-7119-2592-5