Tore Down a la Rimbaud

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"Tore Down a la Rimbaud"
Single by Van Morrison
from the album A Sense of Wonder
A-side "Tore Down a la Rimbaud"
B-side "Haunts of Ancient Peace (live)"
Released 1985
Format 12" single
Recorded 1983
Genre Celtic, Rock & Roll
Length 4:09
Label Mercury Records
Songwriter(s) Van Morrison
Producer(s) Van Morrison
Van Morrison singles chronology
"A Sense of Wonder"
"Tore Down a la Rimbaud"
"Ivory Tower"
"A Sense of Wonder"
"Tore Down a la Rimbaud"
"Ivory Tower"
A Sense of Wonder track listing
"Tore Down a la Rimbaud"
"Ancient of Days"

"Tore Down a la Rimbaud" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1985 album, A Sense of Wonder.


The title and theme of the song derives from French poet Arthur Rimbaud who became famous for his poetry at the age of fifteen in 1869 and who quit writing six years later. Morrison had begun writing the song in 1975 during the three year professionally inactive time period after he released the album, Veedon Fleece.

Morrison has been quoted on the origins of the song:

[It was] during the period... between Veedon Fleece and A Period of Transition [that] I started "Tore Down a la Rimbaud" - after I read that [Rimbaud] stopped writing altogether when he was twenty-six, became an arms dealer or something. He never wrote a line after that. Ironically, that sorta got me writing again. Took a long time to finish, though - eight years before I got the rest of the lines. That's the longest I've ever carried a song around.[1]

I'd been reading him [Rimbaud] when I got the original idea. The idea is ten or twelve years old, and I just rewrote it. I wasn't writing anything at all and I really didn't understand why. Sometimes I get over a block by just sitting down at a typewriter and typing what I've just done."[2]

Other releases[edit]

A remastered version of "Tore Down a la Rimbaud" is included on Morrison's 2007 compilation album, Still on Top - The Greatest Hits.



  1. ^ Heylin, Can You Feel the Silence? p.308
  2. ^ Collis, Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, p161