Singer Van Morrison described himself as just a “blue-eyed soul singer” from Belfast as he was knighted on Thursday for a musical career that has enthralled audiences and delighted critics.
Over more than 50 years the singer has gone from teenage stardom to innovator and is now a respected veteran, whose classic album Astral Weeks regularly makes the list of top 100 albums of all time.
The artist, whose full name is George Ivan Morrison, was introduced as Sir Ivan Morrison as he stepped forward to be dubbed a knight by the Prince of Wales in Buckingham Palace’s ballroom.
Afterwards he said about becoming a Sir: “It’s amazing, it’s very exhilarating, the whole thing.
“For 53 years I’ve been in the business — that’s not bad for a blue-eyed soul singer from east Belfast.”
The 70-year-old performer has blended his influences — R&B, blues, jazz, and country — into a unique mix that reflects his upbringing in Northern Ireland.
Sir Van’s best known songs range from the 1960s tracks Baby, Please Don’t Go and Gloria, with the band Them, to solo efforts like Moondance, Sweet Thing and Have I Told You Lately.
He has been a prolific recording artist throughout his career and released his latest studio album Duets last year, singing with a range of stars from Joss Stone to the late Bobby Womack.
Morrison’s knighthood is for services to the music industry and tourism in his native Northern Ireland.
Sir Van said he still remained committed to performing for an audience: “I enjoy that the most — playing a small club — that’s really what I do.
“The bigger places you have to do for financial survival reasons, let me put it that way, but the bigger places enable me to play small clubs occasionally.”
He added: “Sales of CDs and stuff like that are very unreliable, it has really gone down a lot, I’m lucky I can still do live gigs and still pull crowds and be able to do that.
“All these years of work have paid off and I’m still able to do that now.”
The musician had a brief chat with Charles, who quizzed him about his plans for the future.
Sir Van said: “He was just saying, was I still writing? And he said: ‘You’re not going to retire any time soon?’ And I said: ‘No, I’m not, I’m going to keep it going while I can’.”