Van Morrison / Astral Weeks expanded and other news


There has been a fair bit of Van Morrison activity in the past week, with the news that Sony’s Legacy Recordings has acquired the rights to much of the man’s back catalogue and also that 1968’s Astral Weeks and 1970’s His Band and the Street Choir (both still owned by Warners and not part of the Sony deal) will be reissued and expanded by Rhino in October.

Rhino put out a reissue of Moondance back in 2013 in quite some style, with a top-of-the-range 4CD+blu-ray set and a two-CD deluxe. The new expanded editions of the albums that originally sandwiched 1969’s Moondance are more modest affairs since they will be single disc reissues. You will still get remastered audio of course and each album will also feature previously unreleased versions of several album tracks.

In terms of the other news, Sony will now get to work planning their own Van Morrison reissue campaign having acquired “more than 50 years of music”. They now have the rights to the early Them albums (and compilations) and more or less all the solo work from 1972’s Saint Dominic’s Preview onwards

In fact, Sony have specifically said that deluxe Legacy Editions of Saint Dominic’s Preview, It’s Too Late to Stop Now, Hard Nose the Highway and Enlightenment are part of their plans, as well as a new career-spanning single CD compilation. But for now they are kicking things off with a double-disc set The Essential Van Morrison.

The Essential Van Morrison is out now, while Astral Weeks and His Band and the Street Choir will be reissued on 30 October 2015.



Astral Weeks expanded and remastered


His Band and the Street Choir remastered and expanded


The Essential Van Morrison


Track Listing
1. “Astral Weeks”
2. “Beside You”
3. “Sweet Thing”
4. “Cyprus Avenue”
5. “The Way Young Lovers Do”
6. “Madame George”
7. “Ballerina”
8. “Slim Slow Slider”
Bonus Tracks – Previously Unreleased
9. “Beside You” (Take 1)
10. “Madame George” (Take 4)
11. “Ballerina” (Long Version)
12. “Slim Slow Slider” (Long Version)

Track Listing
1. “Domino”
2. “Crazy Face”
3. “Give Me A Kiss”
4. “I’ve Been Working”
5. “Call Me Up In Dreamland”
6. “I’ll Be Your Lover, Too”
7. “Blue Money”
8. “Virgo Clowns”
9. “Gypsy Queen”
10. “Sweet Jannie”
11. “If I Ever Needed Someone”
12. “Street Choir”
Bonus Tracks – Previously Unreleased
13. “Call Me Up In Dreamland” (Take 10)
14. “Give Me A Kiss” (Take 3)
15. “Gypsy Queen” (Take 3)
16. “I’ve Been Working” (Alternate Version)
17. “I’ll Be Your Lover, Too” (Alternate Version)


Albums newly acquired by Legacy Recordings:


  • The Angry Young Them / Them (1965)
  • Them Again (1966)
  • Them featuring Van Morrison (compilation, 1972)
  • The Story of Them featuring Van Morrison (compilation, 1997)

Van Morrison

  • St. Dominic’s Preview (1972)
  • Hard Nose the Highway (1973)
  • It’s Too Late to Stop Now (Live) (1974)
  • Veedon Fleece (1974)
  • A Period of Transition (1977)
  • Wavelength (1978)
  • Into the Music (1979)
  • Common One (1980)
  • Beautiful Vision (1982)
  • Inarticulate Speech of the Heart (1983)
  • Live at the Grand Opera House, Belfast (Live) (1984)
  • A Sense of Wonder (1984)
  • No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1984)
  • Poetic Champions Compose (1987)
  • Irish Heartbeat (w/the Chieftains) (1988)
  • Avalon Sunset (1989)
  • Enlightenment (1990)
  • Hymns to the Silence (1991)
  • Too Long in Exile (1993)
  • A Night in San Francisco (Live) (1994)
  • Days Like This (1995)
  • How Long Has This Been Going On? (1995)
  • Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison (1996)
  • The Healing Game (1997)
  • The Philosopher’s Stone (2CD outtakes compilation, 1998)
  • Back on Top (1999)
  • The Skiffle Sessions: Live in Belfast (Live) (2000)
  • Down the Road (2002)
  • What’s Wrong with This Picture? (2003)
  • Magic Time (2005)
  • Pay the Devil (2006)
  • Keep it Simple (2008)
  • Astral Weeks “Live at the Hollywood Bowl” (Live) (2009)

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I’ve absolutely zero interest in a surround 5.1 version of Morrison’s catalogue. This was music conceived, played, recorded, mixed, mastered and released to be listened on stereo. Stereo is what the artist intended, stereo is how it’s meant to be listened to. Provided it sounds great, of course. These new reissues have gorgeous stereo sound… that’s all you need. Anyone who doesn’t get it – I’m sorry for him.


imho Van’s team never misses the chance to miss an opportunity: what a shame to offer just 4 unreleased tracks on Astral weeks – they should follow Bob Dylan’s official bootleg releases-policy…
Instead of offering us re-releases of Van’s official studio and live cds, they should immediately start to open his vaults: I’m convinced that ALL fans would buy the new stuff, nobody is interested in buying the already existing tracks 2 or 3 times… This would really fill Van’s and the record companies’ bank accounts…

Mathew Lauren

So far – NO GOOD. No surround sound (in the deluxe offering) – No interest. Sorry Music Companies, I refuse to live in your 2D world. By the way, that’s E. Scheiner on the other line. Answer it, please and do the right thing or please DON’t bother with anything other than pressing from existing 2-channel sources while pricing accordingly. FTR, It’s NEVER a SUPERDELUXE EDITION WITHOUT THE INCLUSION OF COMPETENT surround (5.1+) within the offering. Please fans unite.

[…] Morrison‘s Astral Weeks is the 34th best selling physical release last week. The set is a modest expanded CD but very aggressive pricing by Amazon UK probably helped the high-ish […]


How does it make sense that on Amazon U.S., the 37-track “Essential” is priced at only $11.88 but the two single album releases are $13.98?

And how did Morrison get control of his recordings away from Warner to give to Sony Legacy? And why not a great multi-label 5 CD boxed set?

Charles Hodgson

Interesting article about AW reissue (and Brooks Arthur, the uncredited recording engineer & mixer). Would love to hear the mysterious outtake “Train”. Maybe next time(?).


Charles Hodgson

“Astral Weeks” &  “His Band and the Street Choir” both down from £9.65 to £7.99 pre-order on Amazon.co.uk.


I have no more space in my shelf….

David Olstein

I’m underwhelmed. The least Rhino could have done was include “Royalty,” which I believe is the only outtake from the Astral Weeks sessions.

Andy Walked

Will the remaster of AW be the same as the Japanese remaster I paid £20 for?


Trying to collect all the Van solo albums is a thankless task, likely to leave you as grumpy as the Man himself. And I was doing so well until the previous reissue campaign stalled with It’s Too Late To Stop Now (currently fetching silly money on the used market, like the others).


If there is a box, it will exclude Moondance, Astral Weeks and His Band (Warners) and Tupelo Honey……

Simon F

I can see a big Sony box set ala Miles Davis, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan a-coming with all these Morrison albums. Not being a fan myself (although i do own a vinyl copy of Astral Weeks) I never knew he had churned out so much stuff, so why does the bloody radio keep playing the same three or four tunes of his? Boneheads.

Charles Hodgson

“Astral Weeks” not as expanded as much as I’d have hoped, but it’s still SOMETHING and gives me hope for a fuller sessions box in the future. They’re likely to have mastered ALL the session tapes when they compiled those 4 “taster” tracks, right? Hope the remastering us up to snuff.
As for the rest, I got a lot of the single disc remasters from a few years back before they disappeared, but I’m in for the deluxe editions and Them.
Good news!
(BTW, anyone who loves “Astral Weeks” but hasn’t picked up the Hollywood Bowl Live CD should definitely do so. It’s astounding. Such a pity that show didn’t get a World Tour.)


Paul, some are more deluxe than others as some girls are bigger than others? You wouldn’t have imagined, i’m sure, when you started this beautiful site that you would be wondering what is a deluxe reissue and what is not. Anyway, i’m glad that van the man is getting the reissue treatment. Let’s hope this time it’s properly done without interruption.
Paul, keep doing what you’re doing in your usual deluxe or not way.


Apparently Van is keeping Tupelo Honey out of print according to Sony.

Mark Lavallee

Where does this leave Tupelo Honey? It’d be criminal to just leave that one out.


Looks as though Van has opted to pull a Times Fades Away by excluding Tupelo Honey from this reissue campaign.

Paul English

The last remaster campaign was abandoned halfway through.


Wasn’t that partially down to Van himself though? I can’t remember the full story but he seems like a pain in the arse to work with when it comes to his back catalogue.

John Moore

That’s right!


Although perhaps this is just the start of many versions of AW to come. Double disc next and eventually a huge six disc box. It wouldn’t be the first time after all would it. ;)


Wow I expected more from Astral Weeks. I was thinking they’d go the route they went with Bitches Brew. Shame.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that they are planning a single CD best of, but to kick things off they are sticking out a double disc greatest hits?

Boaz Halachmi

I guess the single CD is for those who just want to pop the CD into their car’s player and have really the best known songs, and the 2CD is for the more expanded minds (like me). Guess they are now
working on the short-list for the single CD.


You’ve hit the nail on the head there. There is a vast difference between Van’s best known songs and his best songs. Funny how last nights “birthday concert” reviews only seemed to concentrate on “Brown Eyed Girl” Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Gloria” That’s Morrison’s enigma. No matter how much great music he makes its the mainstream stuff people want. Even the “Essential” is just most of his more accessible music and not really essential. The one album most Morrison fans are waiting for, “The Philosophers Stone Part 2”, now seems dead in the water.
People get worked up about announcements like this but its just more ways to squeeze cash out of his catalogue.


I guess now we have a sense of wonder as to what constitutes a legacy deluxe edition ? We have waited so long for proper treatment of the Van Morrison catalog and that doesn’t mean bunging on a couple of extra tracks

I would like to think that ITLTSN would include the video of the BBC simulcast on BBC2 and Radio2, but who knows.


Great news! Some of these albums are proving a little tricky to find at reasonable prices.


Great news; thank you, Paul!!