Van Morrison Bootleg Recordings

T THEIR BEST, VAN'S CONCERT PERFORMANCES ARE LEGENDARY. Over the years he has released 5 commercial live albums, approximately 1 every 10 years, beginning with the amazing It's Too Late To Stop Now in 1974. But this is not nearly enough to satisfy his fans, and as a result a steady stream of clandestinely recorded concert performances have circulated as "bootlegs". Some of Van's live performances have reached mythic status, and have surfaced under several names at different times (shown above is a shot from Van's July 24, 1973 performance at the Rainbow Theater in London, booted under the name Over the Rainbow, among others). The result can be somewhat confusing for the collector.

This section of the Van Morrison Discography includes all known "commercial" bootleg recordings (vinyl and CD) featuring performances by Van Morrison. Note that there is a separate section covering CD-R & Tape Trees, another form in which concert material has circulated. The spread of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks has resulted in dramatic changes to all aspects of music distribution, commercial and clandestine, to the point where bootlegs and tape trees have essentially disappeared.

There are three indices: an alphabetical index of Bootleg CDs (including a section listing Bootleg CDs with Van Guesting; an alphabetical index of Bootleg Vinyl Albums; and a combined index in Performance Date Order (divided into Part I - bootlegs with complete, or near-complete performances; and Part II - bootlegs with miscellaneous performances from various dates and sources). The Performance Date Order index was prepared jointly by David Chance and Linda Beatty.

About Bootlegs
According to one definition, "bootlegs are collections of music, usually of live or unreleased tracks, that find their way into the hands of collectors without the direct approval of the artist or the artist's record label. Although manufacture and distribution of these CDs is prohibited or discouraged in most countries, certain record labels still find the channels to sell this material to distributors and fans, who often pay the premium prices that are associated with them. The sound quality is usually but not always inferior to offically released album, but they are still very collectible, if only for the novelty".

Bootlegs are ephemeral things: most of these are no longer in circulation at all. This Discography attempts to be a complete record of all commercially-produced bootleg CDs of Van Morrison material. With the advent of CD-R and home CD burners, bootleg CDs of widely varying quality began to appear, and I have made no attempt to document these efforts unless they appeared to adhere to "professional" standards of production and sound quality. There is a related section on Van Morrison CD-R & Tape Trees which provides a look back at how Van fans shared live Van material amongst themselves before the advent of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, which essentially made "tape trees" a thing of the past.

Vinyl Bootlegs
With the coming of CDs, bootleg vinyl albums acquired an aura of even greater rarity. The discography entries for these Van vinyl boots were contributed by various members of the Van Morrison mailing list, and were collected and collated by Denis Healy. Many of the cover scans were contributed by Brian Leahy: many thanks to these two for overseeing this collective effort, and to the many who helped to make the information as accurate as possible. Participants in the Great Van Vinyl Drive include: Heshy Bock, David Chance, P.J. Clerkin, Diana De Roo, Denis Healy, Brian Leahy, Hugh Marshall, Art Siegel, and Maureen Weicher.

If you've got a Van bootleg CD (or a bootleg CD with Van guesting) which isn't listed yet, and can provide me with information on it (disk name, label, pressing date, track listing, recording date and location, sound quality, track timings, cover scan, etc), I'd be happy to include it in the list. Just for the record, I'm not condoning the practice of bootlegging.

Sources for Bootleg CDs
Please don't Email me to ask where a particular bootleg CD can be obtained! As noted above, true (ie commercial) bootlegs have pretty much disappeared. Those interested in discussing bootleg recordings are directed to the Van Morrison mailing lists, where you will find people who are more likely to be able to answer specific questions about this fascinating material.

COPYRIGHT ADVISORY: For the avoidance of doubt, this website does not condone bootlegging, and the bootleg references contained here are included for reference purposes in the context of the history of pop-culture; legal action is routinely taken by Exile Productions against those found to be infringing copyright and performers rights in Van Morrison performances and recordings.

Part of the unofficial website