The Best of Van Morrison

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The Best of Van Morrison
Greatest hits album by
ReleasedJanuary 1990 (1990-01)
ProducerBert Berns, Lewis Merenstein, Van Morrison, Dick Rowe, Ted Templeman
Van Morrison chronology
Avalon Sunset
The Best of Van Morrison

The Best of Van Morrison is a compilation album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It compiles songs spanning 25 years of his recording career. Released in 1990 by Polydor Records, the album was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the best-selling records of the 1990s and helping revive Morrison's mainstream popularity. Its success encouraged him to release a second and third greatest hits volume in 1993 and 2007, respectively. The album remains Morrison's best-seller.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[2]
Q5/5 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[4]
The Village VoiceA[5]

The Best of Van Morrison was Morrison's first greatest hits album and featured songs that were compiled from 25 years of material.[6] including "Wonderful Remark", a song which first appeared on the soundtrack to the 1983 film The King of Comedy.[1] The album became one of the best-selling records of the 1990s, spending a year and a half on the UK charts,[6] helping Morrison regain his commercial popularity during the decade.[7] It also debuted at number one in Australia on the ARIA Albums Chart.[8] In the United States, the album never reached the Top 40 of the Billboard 200 but remained on the chart for more than four-and-a-half years.[9] In 2002, the album was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), having shipped four million copies in the US.[10] Morrison was reluctant at first to have a greatest hits album released, although its success encouraged him to personally select tracks for the second and third volumes in 1993 and 2007, respectively.[11] "As the story goes, Van Morrison wanted nothing to do with his first greatest hits collection", wrote Andrew Gilstrap from PopMatters. "He probably warmed up to the idea, though, after the sales figures started pouring in—year after year after year."[11]

The Best of Van Morrison was acclaimed by critics from Goldmine and Q magazine, who called it essential.[3] In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said although the songs are not sequenced chronologically, the album flows as a unified and "spiritually enlightened" work that also reflects the compilers "upbeat market savvy". He took note of the seven songs from Morrison's music in the 1980s, particularly "Wonderful Remark", writing that they live up to the standards of his 1970s albums Moondance (1970) and Into the Music (1979).[5] In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine viewed the record as an exceptional compilation and a perfect sampler of Morrison's music, which is made to "seem a little more immediate and accessible than it usually is" on his studio albums.[1] The Best of Van Morrison remains his best-selling release.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Van Morrison, except where noted.

  1. "Bright Side of the Road" – 3:45
    from Into the Music, 1979
  2. "Gloria" – 2:37
    with Them
    single, 1964; from The Angry Young Them, 1965
  3. "Moondance" – 4:31
    from Moondance, 1970
  4. "Baby, Please Don't Go" (Big Joe Williams) – 3:03
    with Them
    single, 1964
  5. "Have I Told You Lately" – 4:18
    from Avalon Sunset, 1989
  6. "Brown Eyed Girl" – 3:03 - The mono single edit
    from Blowin' Your Mind!, 1967
  7. "Sweet Thing" – 4:22
    from Astral Weeks, 1968
  8. "Warm Love" – 3:21
    from Hard Nose the Highway, 1973
  9. "Wonderful Remark" – 3:58
    from The King of Comedy soundtrack, 1983
  10. "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)" – 2:57
    from Saint Dominic's Preview, 1972
  11. "Full Force Gale" – 3:12
    from Into the Music, 1979
  12. "And It Stoned Me" – 4:30
    from Moondance, 1970
  13. "Here Comes the Night" (Bert Berns) – 2:46
    with Them
    single, 1965
  14. "Domino" – 3:08
    from His Band and the Street Choir, 1970
  15. "Did Ye Get Healed?" – 4:06
    from Poetic Champions Compose, 1987
  16. "Wild Night" – 3:31
    from Tupelo Honey, 1971
  17. "Cleaning Windows" – 4:42
    from Beautiful Vision, 1982
  18. "Whenever God Shines His Light" – 4:54
    with Cliff Richard
    from Avalon Sunset, 1989
  19. "Queen of the Slipstream" – 4:53
    from Poetic Champions Compose, 1987
  20. "Dweller on the Threshold" (Morrison, Hugh Murphy) – 4:47
    from Beautiful Vision, 1982
  • The 1998 Australian/New Zealand re-release of the album also includes "Days Like This" (3:13) (from the album of the same name, 1995) as the seventh track, for a total of 21 tracks.[citation needed]
  • In 1998, the album was remastered and re-released, this time with the original stereo album version of "Brown-Eyed Girl".[citation needed]


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[13]


Year Chart Position
1990 Australian ARIA Albums Chart[8] 1

Album - UK Album Chart

Year Chart Position
1990 UK Album Chart[14] 4

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1990 The Billboard 200[1] 41


  1. ^ a b c d Allmusic review
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN 0195313739.
  3. ^ a b "Best Of Van Morrison CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  4. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Van Morrison". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 559. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  5. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1990). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (25 December). New York. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  6. ^ a b Heylin, Can You Feel The Silence, p. 437
  7. ^ DiMartino, Dave (1994). Singer-Songwriters: Pop Music's Performer-Composers from A to Zevon. Billboard Books. p. 163. ISBN 0823076296.
  8. ^ a b "The Best of Van Morrison". Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  9. ^ "Van Morrison on the Billboard 200". Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  10. ^ "RIAA – Searchable Database: Van Morrison". Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  11. ^ a b Gilstrap, Andrew (26 June 2007). "Van Morrison: The Best of Van Morrison". PopMatters. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  12. ^ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bio
  13. ^ Anon. (1990). The Best of Van Morrison (CD booklet). Van Morrison. Polydor Records. 841 970-2.
  14. ^ Chart Stats: Van Morrison


External links[edit]