Irish-Born Singer Successful In U.S.


St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorite “holidays.” No gifts to worry about, no political correctness with which to be concerned and no expectations (nor dread) of being visited by the in-laws. It’s my kind of holiday.

I have a feeling that next Wednesday, no matter what our heritage, we’ll all be a-donnin’ our kelly green outfits and our Irish eyes will be a-smiling.

Of the Irish-born musical artists who have had commercial success in the United States, singer/songwriter George Ivan “Van” Morrison stands a Blarney Stone and a pot of gold above the rest. His songs are among the most often requested at parties and weddings for which I play.

Van Morrison was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Aug. 31, 1945. His mother was a singer, while his father ardently collected classic American jazz and blues recordings.

Known as “Van the Man” to his fans, Morrison started his professional career as a young teenager in the late 1950s, playing a variety of instruments, including the guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone.

He rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the gritty Northern Irish R&B band, Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic, “Gloria,” a highly influential classic that later achieved Grammy’s Hall of Fame award. The song was later covered that same year by the Shadows of Knight, who had a top 10 hit with its tamer version.

Van Morrison began his solo recording career in 1967 and to this day continues to record and tour.

This week’s music trivia question is, of the following four songs, which was NOT a hit for Van Morrison: A) Brown Eyed Girl, B) Domino, C) Blue Money or D) My Wild Irish Rose?

If your Irish luck is with you this week and you’re caller number four with the right answer, you’ll win a CD that I have put together of Van Morrison’s top hits. You’ll just love it!

Now, let’s check out how we did with last week’s music trivia question, which was, can you name the singer who recorded the hit “Alone Again (Naturally).”

Was it A) Van Morrison, B) Gilbert O’Sullivan, C) Enya or D) Sinead O’Conner.

The correct answer was Gilbert O’Sullivan. Although O’Sullivan scored hits for only a short time on the Billboard chart (1972-74) and had just two songs reach the Top 10, “Alone Again (Naturally)” topped America’s pop chart for six consecutive weeks in the summer of 1972.

Congratulations to this past week’s music trivia winner, Mike McFarlane, who won a $20 gift certificate to Vita-Mart, courtesy of JD and Christina, owners of their unique store in the Twin Pines Shopping Plaza.

A little about this week’s winner: Mike was born and raised in Herrin, Ill., a rural community located near Carbondale, home of the Southern Illinois Salukis.

Mike has two adult daughters, one living in California and the other in Pennsylvania. He is single and as he told me, “I’m available!”

For most of Mike’s life, he was employed in the international consumer products industry. He lived for 20 years in China and Hong Kong. In 2001, he moved from his home in Walnut Creek, Calif. to retire in “the beautiful town of Payson.”

Mike is an avid tennis player, works out regularly at the Gila Community College gym and loves cooking and wine. He is a member of Mount Cross Lutheran Church.

When in the mood for music, Mike prefers classical, contemporary jazz and country. His favorite artists/composers are Dave Brubeck, Wolfgang Mozart and Alison Krauss.

Lastly, new pictures that I have just added to my Web site are from last Saturday’s Mark Lyons-Stefanie Roberson wedding. Fortunately, the rain held off long enough to make it a wonderful day for family and friends to join them in their outdoor celebration.

Go Irish!

DJ Craig — Phone: 468-1482

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