Obviously with U2 and the Pogues alone, the Irish scene has had a huge effect on the pop music of the past half century. But no list of Irish influences on 20th century rock and roll can be complete without Van Morrison.
In 1968, LOM's senior year in high school, Them played the Ector County Coliseum in our West Texas hometown of Odessa. By 1968, Morrison had left the band, but the rest of Them moved to the States and toured until the money ran out. Them made some very interesting bluesy rock tracks, but the band is primarily known for two things: Van Morrison and Morrison's garage rock classic, "Gloria." To Lonesome, Onry and Mean, "Gloria" stands shoulder to shoulder with the Standells' "Dirty Water" as one of the nastiest, rocking tracks of the '60s garage-band era. Morrison wrote the song in Germany while on tour in late 1963, and in the hands of Them it became an extended nightly jam with Morrison continually improvising new verses and his crazy scats. But the three-minute hit single remains to this day one of the eternal milestones of mid-'60s rock and roll. Ed. Note: Here's a personal choice from 1970's His Band and the Street Choir:
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Post Them, Morrison blazed a trail as bright as Haley's Comet. His 1970 album Moondance is an absolute landmark in the development of American post-Elvis popular music, and LOM spent much of his college time listening to the country-rock masterpiece Tupelo Honey (1971). Morrison's discography and charting singles in the '70s alone would be sufficient for an entire career for almost any major-label artist.
Morrison probably won't be dropping in, but the Pogues will be at House of Blues in less than 48 hours. Houston, stand by for liftoff.