‘Let’s face it, that’s not reality’: Van Morrison unleashes fury over Top 200 Singers of All Time list

Van Morrison (Getty Images)
Van Morrison (Getty Images)

Van Morrison has stated that he is not at all happy with where he and a number of other musicians have been placed on a list of the Top 200 Singers of All Time.

The 77-year-old musician, who has been heavily criticised in recent years for his anti-lockdown rhetoric, was placed No 37 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list, which was published on New Year’s Day.

Speaking in a new interview with The Times’ Saturday Review, the Irish singer said: “People keep calling me to say, ‘Congratulations, you are No 37 in Rolling Stone’s 200 singers.’ Oh great, thanks very much. Who else is there? Joan Baez, one of the greatest folk singers of all time, is at 189? Solomon Burke [183] and Bobby Bland [163] are in the high hundreds?”

At this point in the interview, Morrison reportedly took off his glasses he was so incensed. “What the f***?” he said. “These people should be in the Top 20 at the very least. It’s nice they mention me, but let’s face it, that’s not reality.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Morrison opened up about his career struggles in the Sixties and his feud with the producer of his old band Them, Bert Berns.

“I had to fight my way out and the only way I could do that was through music,” Morrison said, explaining that his seminal 1968 album Astral Weeks was written in those years.

Astral Weeks came out of it because creativity comes out of chaos. But you can go up or down in this business, and it all depends on whether you survive or not. Think of all the Sixties bands you never heard from again.”

Van Morrison (Getty Images)
Van Morrison (Getty Images)

Last year, Morrison started legal action against the Northern Ireland Department of Health and its minister Robin Swann over a Rolling Stone op-ed.

The action came after Swann wrote an article for the magazine in September 2020, which blasted Morrison over his stance on lockdown and Covid restrictions.

The piece said that Morrison’s anti-lockdown views could damage public health messaging in Northern Ireland and Swann added that the songs that the artist had written regarding Covid were “dangerous”.