Sir George Ivan "Van" Morrison, OBE (born 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish singer, songwriter and musician. He has received six Grammy Awards, the 1994 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2016 he was knighted for his musical achievements and his services to tourism and charitable causes in Northern Ireland. Known as "Van the Man" to his fans, Morrison started his professional career when, as a teenager in the late 1950s, he played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands covering the popular hits of the day. He rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B band Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic "Gloria". His solo career began under the pop-hit oriented guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single "Brown Eyed Girl" in 1967. After Berns' death, Warner Bros. Records bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968). Even though this album would gradually garner high praise, it was initially a poor seller; Moondance (1970), however, established Morrison as a major artist, and he built on his reputation throughout the 1970s with a series of acclaimed albums and live performances. Morrison continues to record and tour, producing albums and live performances that sell well and are generally warmly received, sometimes collaborating with other artists, such as Georgie Fame and the Chieftains. In 2008 he performed Astral Weeks live for the first time since 1968. Essential Albums; Astral Weeks to start, and then he's got another half a dozen perfect albums after there. Can't go wrong with any of his 70s stuff really.