Monday, August 31, 2015

The countdown begins

On August 26, BBC Radio Ulster began its countdown of the top 70 songs in Van Morrison's catalog. (The station also kicked off its week-long celebration of the singer-songwriter's birthday; check out my post here.) The 70 tracks were selected by the station's listeners.

So far, only one track from Astral Weeks has made an appearance: "Beside You." However, host Ralph McLean did tease listeners with the promise that more would be coming in the following days.

A good chunk of the 20-something tracks played consisted of Morrison's most popular downtempo numbers: "A Sense of Wonder," "Brand New Day," "Warm Love," and "Hymns to the Silence." Also, a trio of Them ditties made an appearance: "Don't Look Back," "One Two Brown Eyes," and "Here Comes the Night."

In between, McLean shared touching tweets and emails and missives from Morrison's fans. There was a widow who remembered his first dance with his new bride and how the song they spun and stepped to was "These Are the Days." There was a grieving parent who lost a teenage daughter and found solace in "Reminds Me of You." But perhaps my favorite share was from Maurice Kinkead, chief executive of the East Belfast Partnership, who said that the opening line to "Orangefield"—and I'm paraphrasing here—always makes him feel good about Belfast.

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