Sample Sunday: Crazy Love


Song: Crazy Love
Artist: Van Morrison
Album: Moondance
Writer: Van Morrison
Released: 1970
Sampled By: Brian McKnight, Crazy Love, I Remember You (1995)

For the last two years, I’ve had this obsession with the musical catalog of Van Morrison; a brilliant singer-songwriter from Belfast, Northern Ireland. I have this tendency to listen to the same album for at least two months. It is the only thing I listen to and the lyrics come to mean more to me on deeper and personal levels. Moondance is no exception.

Some of you may know his most famous single, Brown Eyed Girl (1967). (Side Note: It is rumored that the song was originally called Brown Skinned Girl, written about his brown skinned lady). To those who do not know of him, he may appear to be just some obscure white singer. But if you really listen to his music, you’d find a perfect mixture of Irish folk, jazz, blues and soul; with a heavy influence of black artists like Muddy Waters and Ray Charles. His voice has this unique tone, an understated grittiness that rises and falls at the perfect moment, showing a great understanding of every word and rhythm in his song. He’s a storyteller and I think that’s what I like the most about him. A good amount of his stories are of love, described in great imagery.

The third track of the album begins with Van Morrison singing in a beautiful rasp,

I can hear her heart beat from a thousand miles/Yeah, the heavens open every time she smiles/And I when I come to her that’s where I belong/Yes, I run into her like a river song

The song is beautiful and simple, telling of a man who loves the woman who loves him. It is the kind of love that is comfortable and passionate. There are lovers who come into your life at the right moment and become the best complement to everything about you. This is the kind of love described in Crazy Love.

Yes, it makes me righteous/Yes it makes me feel whole/Yes, it makes me mellow down in to my soul

My earliest memory of this song is Brian McKnight’s 1995 single, done in standard 90s R&B fashion, with syncopated drum machines and velvety vocals. It was a pleasant surprise to discover what I’d always assumed was a song written for McKnight, was a twenty-five year old love story waiting to be retold.

Side Note: Van Morrison has a great way with words. His songs are poems set to rhythm and it comes out very organic. Because I love his wording, I want to share with you one of the greatest lyrics I’ve ever heard. From the title track of his 1968 album, Astral Weeks:

If I ventured in the slipstream/Between the viaducts of your dream/Where immobile steel rims crack/And the ditch in the back road stops/Could you find me?/Would you kiss my eyes?/Lay me down/In silence easy/To be born again

Happy Sunday!


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