The cover of Van Morrison’s ‘Astral Weeks’; Photo: Warner Bros.

Van Morrison‘s true solo album, released on this day in 1968, as 1967’s “Brown Eyed Girl“-opening pop rocket Blowin’ Your Mind was released without his consent, packaged with art and track arrangements he didn’t clear, Astral Weeks was his middle-finger of a baptismal change.

A vast new canvas that the Belfast troubadour reveled in, the record combined his chase for artistic freedom with a jazz-like tapestry of impressionistic string and stand-up bass strokes, flutes dancing along xylophone flutters, topped off with sprawling stream-of-consciousness sentiments that fit the psychedelic charade of the times, but were immediately accessed as something much more spiritually legit.

There are few records that can transport without a dose of nostalgia. Morrison broke free with Astral Weeksfirst two verses:

If I ventured in the slipstream

Between the viaducts of your dream

Where mobile steel rims crack

And the ditch in the back roads stop


Could you find me?

Would you kiss-a my eyes?

To lay me down in silence easy

To be born again, to be born again