Saturday, June 6, 2015
"I don't think we did 20,000 copies"
Recently came across some interesting Astral Weeks-related quotes. Unearthed them in The Mojo Collection: 4th Edition, an extremely bloated tome that attempts to answer the burning question "What are the 1,000 greatest albums of all time?" (Answer: Who gives a shite.) The book's review of Astral Weeks reveals that Jay Berliner didn't hear the album until a decade after its release—and that was only at the behest of friends. Said Berliner: "In those days I was so busy that I had no idea what I was playing on. I played classical guitar [which] was very unusual in that context. We were used to playing to charts, but Van just played us the songs on his guitar and then told us to go ahead and play exactly what we felt." There's also a quote from Bob Schwaid, Van Morrison's manager at the time of the album's recording. Schwaid disclosed who really was in charge during the sessions. "In all fairness to Van," Schwaid said, "he was the one who was directing the taping. Lew [Merenstein] and I were in the control room but Van was the real producer ... I thought it was a great record at the time, but initially it was a failure. I don't think we did 20,000 copies. It wasn't until years later that people started to come up to me and tell me that their lives had been changed by Astral Weeks."