Rogan bio cover
Out of print, but can be requested through

Van Morrison

by Johnny Rogan

191 pages
Copyright 1984 by Proteus Books

Review by Nathan Wirth:
While this book does offer some interesting anecdotes and snippets of interviews, Rogan is far too preoccupied with exposing the real man behind the myth to offer a objective overview of Morrison's career. The book starts off with a fairly interesting look at Van's childhood and covers his career up until Inarticulate Speech of the Heart. Rogan seems obsessed with proving that Morrison, while a talented writer, performer, and singer, is not worthy of the myth status that he has gained, and, specifically, that Astral Weeks is hardly worthy of all the praise it has received. Rogan presents Morrison as rude, thankless, self centered, and clueless as to the proper way to present himself to the public, completely dismissing Van's valid view that the record industry is only concerned with sales, citing the opinion as further proof of Van's rudeness and foolish disregard for self promotion.

The book also suffers from being rather dated. Rogan goes through great effort to show that Morrison is an inconsistent performer and does not care for touring. While this may have been true before, Van tours regularly now and appears to be comfortable with it. I would also add that the book is weighed down heavily by the author's opinions, which something as objective as a biography should not even include -- and the author's views seem almost like they are a result of the fact that he knows Morrison would likely condemn the book's existence. Still, despite all of the book's faults, it is an interesting read.

(Rogan has also written books about the Byrds, Neil Young and Roxy Music. More recently he has also published a new biography of Van Morrison.)

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