GREIL MARCUS / When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 7:30pm

“Van Morrison,” says Greil Marcus, “remains a singer who can be compared to no other in the history of modern popular music.” The wild turbulence of his music, mirroring the swings in his popular acclaim, makes him one of the most perplexing and mysterious figures in modern music. He willfully resists simple categorization -- he is as much a bluesman as a Celtic soul singer, a rock and roller as a folk singer, a diva as a balladeer; his greatest songs are at one moment his own, at another covers of those by others.   


When That Rough God Goes Riding reveals Greil Marcus, America’s most insightful cultural critic, at his best as he pursues Morrison’s particular and peculiar genius through the extraordinary and unclassifiable moments in Morrison’s career, beginning in 1965 and continuing in full force to this day. Marcus has listened to Astral Weeks more than any other album by any artist, yet he is prepared to dismiss seventeen years of Morrison’s work as utterly forgettable. In this way Marcus pursues the high points and dislocations in which Morrison reaches a unique and extreme musical threshold, and illuminates one of our most enigmatic and revelatory performers. 


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Greil Marcus is the author of The Shape of Things to Come, Like a Rolling Stone, and The Old Weird America; a twentieth anniversary edition of his book Lipstick Traces was published in 2009. With Werner Sollors he is the editor of A New Literary History of America. Since 2000 he has taught at Princeton, Berkeley, Minnesota, and the New School in New York; his column “Real Life Rock Top 10” appears regularly in The Believer. He lives in Berkeley

When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9781586488215
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: PublicAffairs - April 1st, 2010