Born in Belfast, Van Morrison was brought up on the music of Ray Charles, Muddy Waters and Jelly Roll Morton. He got his first guitar at the age of eleven, taught himself to play basic chords and at 12 formed his first band The Sputniks. During his teens he played in several bands, learning how to be a successful frontman and gaining a reputation as a hard-working musician. When he was 17 he embarked on his first European tour with his band The International Monarchs. He cut his first record as Georgie and The Monarchs, but after just a year on the road the band decided to go their separate ways. Morrison took a job as a blues singer at a hotel and through the job formed a backing band known as Them, and became famous for performing songs completely improvised. The band signed with Decca and released three singles 'Baby, Please Don't Go', 'Here Comes the Night' and 'Mystic Eyes', but Morrison then decided to go his own way. He travelled to America where he signed a solo deal and recorded his first album 'Blowin' Your Mind!' (1967). Even though Morrison wasn't happy with the album, having had very little input on its format and release, it received high praise from critics and its lead single, 'Brown Eyed Girl', reached number ten on the Billboard 100. After his experiences with 'Blowin' Your Mind!' and the death of his producer Bert Berns, Morrison moved to a new record label and set about creating 'Astral Weeks', a song cycle album that was about as far away from his previous pop and blues as he could go, moving towards meditative Celtic folk. Released in 1970, 'Moondance' was Morrison's third album and biggest commercial success to date, selling more than one million copies and breaking the top 30 on the Billboard Charts. After the success of 'Moondance', Morrison continued to pursue his individual style, incorporating elements of blues, jazz, pop and rock into records 'Saint Dominic's Preview' (1972), 'Hard Nose the Highway' (1974) and 'Veedon Fleece' (1974). 'A Period of Transition' (1977) came after a three-year break, a collaborative effort between Morrison and Dr. John. More albums followed, but failing to reach the successes he had previously known, it wasn't until 1990 with 'Enlightenment' that Morrison began to once again find his feet. An album of country music, 'Pay the Devil', was released in 2006 with Morrison performing at Nashville's famous Ryman Auditorium to a sold-out crowd. In 2015, on his 70th birthday, his hometown of Belfast marked the day with celebrations and tributes, culminating in a performance by Morrison himself at the Eastside Arts Festival on Cyprus Avenue. His 36th album 'Keep Me Singing' was released in 2016. 'Roll With the Punches' followed in September 2017 with 'Versatile' coming just three months later. His 39th album 'You Drive Me Crazy' was released in 2018 followed by 'The Prophet Speaks' later in the same year. In 2019 he released the album 'Three Chords and the Truth' preceded by the lead single 'Days Gone By'.