The cover shows Morrison sitting on church steps playing guitar with ripped trousers and scruffy boots looking like a gypsy troubadour out on the street. Photographs for the album were taken by Michael Maggid in St. Anselm’s Church in San Anselmo, California, near Morrison’s home, with the cover photograph shot on the steps of Montgomery Chapel on the grounds of the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo. The album was originally planned to be titled Green but it was changed after Morrison wrote the song «Saint Dominic’s Preview» and used it as the title song. A Rolling Stone profile of Morrison in June 1972 quoted him as saying that the song had evolved from a dream about a St. Dominic’s church gathering where a mass for peace in Northern Ireland, (UK) was being held. Rolling Stone then commented that later while Morrison was in Nevada he read in a newspaper article that a mass was being held the next day for peace at a St. Dominic’s church in San Francisco.
Sir George Ivan Morrison OBE (born 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer whose recording career spans seven decades. He has won two Grammy Awards.
Morrison began performing as a teenager in the late 1950s. He played a variety of instruments such as guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for several Irish showbands, covering the popular hits of that time. Known as "Van the Man" to his fans, Morrison rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B and rock band Them. With Them, he recorded the garage band classic "Gloria".
Under the pop-oriented guidance of Bert Berns, Morrison's solo career began in 1967 with the release of the hit single "Brown Eyed Girl". After Berns's death, Warner Bros. Records bought out Morrison's contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968). While initially a poor seller, the album has become regarded as a classic. Moondance (1970) established Morrison as a major artist, and he built on his reputation throughout the 1970s with a series of acclaimed albums and live performances.
Much of Morrison's music is structured around the conventions of soul music and R&B. An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as the album Astral Weeks. The two strains together are sometimes referred to as "Celtic soul". His live performances have been described as "transcendental" and "inspired", and his music as attaining "a kind of violent transcendence".
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