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Van Morrison unhappy with deluxe reissue of “Moondance”

moondance_deluxe

Only a day after Warner Music announced their forthcoming deluxe reissue of Van Morrison‘s Moondance, the man himself has taken to his website to distance himself from the re-release, claiming “I did not endorse this, it is unauthorised and it has happened behind my back.

‘Van the Man’ goes on to say “My management company at that time gave this music away 42 years ago and now I feel as though it’s being stolen from me again.

Although it is unlikely that Warner Music needed Morrison’s permission for this reissue (rendering his ‘unauthorised’ claim rather meaningless), it’s hardly helpful for them to have the singer songwriter come out so aggressively against a product that bears his name.

Leave a comment, and let us know your thoughts on this situation.

Statement in full:

“A MESSAGE FROM VAN MORRISON.

Yesterday Warner Brothers stated that “Van Morrison was reissuing Moondance”. It is important that people realise that this is factually incorrect. I did not endorse this, it is unauthorised and it has happened behind my back.

My management company at that time gave this music away 42 years ago and now I feel as though it’s being stolen from me again

18th July 2013″


Pre-order Deluxe Moondance:

5-disc Deluxe Edition
•  USA Pre-order: Moondance Deluxe Edition (4 CDs/1 Blu-Ray Audio)

2-CD Expanded Edition
USA Pre-order: Moondance Expanded Edition (2 CD)

Standard single disc remaster
• USA Pre-order: Moondance Remastered Standard Edition
• CANADA Pre-order: Moondance

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27 responses to Van Morrison unhappy with deluxe reissue of “Moondance”

  1. Paul English says:

    No surprise there.

    The last reissue programme [Tupelo Honey onwards] was abandoned halfway through.

  2. ns says:

    Whether Van’s permission is required contractually or not is, in my view, beside the point. One’d have thought that an artist of Van’s standing – indeed, I’d suggest this *should* be true for ALL so-called legacy acts – ought to be consulted as a courtesy.

    Unhappily, this isn’t always the case. Is it any wonder that so many (legacy) acts despise what goes on behind their backs?

    IF Warners are in trouble with Van over this, they’ve really only themselves to blame.

  3. Hedley says:

    I read the same comment on Van’s website.

    Did he give up his royalty rights ?

    Is he just cranky because he wants control over reissues ? As Paul says above, reissue programs have failed and there are completests like me that will be very happy to blast through Moondance and enjoy the 5.1 disc.

    I would be more than happy to replace my Van Morrison library, with Van driven (sorry) super deluxe reissues. Heck I pay a fortune to see the 90 minute shows, so I would be totally onboard with a reissue program

  4. Tobias says:

    Being a huge fan of VM, I was thrilled to hear the Release of MOONDANCE in 5.1 and Remastered. I don´t know if I really need 3 Discs with alternative takes, but as the bonus material on his last remaster series showed, there were plenty of great alternative takes there…
    Saying that, I repeat what others already said… I was greatly disappointed when this series suddenly stopped.
    I don´t know about the contractional circumstances, but is a real pity that VM and Warner are not working together in creating a nice library of this wonderful music best possible sound.
    Also: INARTICULATE SPEECH OF THE HEART was released in 24/192 at hdtracks recently… unluckily only for US residents.
    It´s a long sad story.

  5. Bert says:

    I cannot shake the feeling that Van Morrison is a lot like Prince: by default not happy with whatever action his record company takes.

    Warners wanted for years to put out a Greatest Hits for Prince, and he just kept on stalling — until WB got fed up and paid Prince $3 million NOT to be involved, and we got the fantastic “The Hits/The B-Sides” compilation.

    They also consulted him for the release of “Ultimate Prince”, and he demanded that the extended version of “Erotic City” was removed (and perhaps some other tracks that he now found objectionable), plus the compilation was delayed by several months because he had a new album coming out around the original release date.

    Want to see a shoddy treatment of the back catalogue? Look at Prince: no remasters, no special editions, several CDs worth of tracks only available on out of print vinyl,… There was some hope with the recently started HDTracks releases, but so far there was been a cock-up WRT “The Beautiful Ones” on “Purple Rain” (lacked the first second or so, but this was recently fixed), and “Around The World In A Day” contains the same mastering error as one of the tracks on “The Hits/The B-Sides” (from 1993!) and does not seem to be a quality remaster like the previous HDTracks releases. (And here was me hoping I’d finally get to hear a properly mastered “Sign O’ The Times”.)

    • Mike Cox says:

      Bert-I agree with your comments about Prince’s back catalog. What a shame. Probably the most ignored of anyone at his level.

    • octopus says:

      Re: Prince.

      The reason Prince is so unhappy with Warner is that when his contract was re-upped and he received a reported $10 million advance per album and full artistic control, he thought he was also owning his masters. When he realized he didn’t, and that Warner had no intention of transferring ownership back to him even though he created the music, that’s when the whole “unpronounceable glyph” and scratching the word “slave” across his face ordeal began. He probably won’t work with Warner again until he regains his ownership rights.

  6. Mark says:

    If they’d gone for Van’s approval this probably would never have seen the light of day. If it takes going behind his back to finally get remasters/deluxe editions (I tend to agree 3 discs of the same songs over and over again isn’t so deluxe) then I say keep going behind his back! Can I have the non-Van approved Astral Weeks please? That one I’d happily listen to disk after disk of outtakes!

  7. Eric says:

    I’m more fussed that the last VM reissue campaign came to a half about half-way through.

    Prince is a good comparison. Now, If Van were unhappy about the quality of the product in some way, fair enough. But it sounds like he’s unhappy that’s it just being released, full stop.

  8. Will says:

    It’s unfortunate that he’s unhappy, but looks like the sort of guy who’d never be happy. His back catalogue never seems to get the respect it deserves and I’m not sure who’s fault that is.
    Saying that, I can’t wait to hear this on blu-ray.
    Saint Dominic’s Preview next please.

  9. Ken says:

    Van is spot on about this. I’m a huge fan of his and have bought many re-issues over the years for one or two “extra tracks” but enough is enough!
    I personally have played my “Moondance” album to death. I couldn’t care less about alternate versions or remixes of the material. After 40 years I doubt if I will play this album more than two or three times a year and no amount of extras will change that. This is just another exercise in getting fans to part with cash for what is actually sub-standard material. God forbid we get an edition of “Astral Weeks” with outtakes. Why ruin perfection?

  10. Scott says:

    Someone commented to me on this – How could anyone “steal” something he signed off and got paid for the first time? He is sore because music is a tough business and he never liked the business aspect of his chosen career to begin with. He’s worth an estimated $60 million and his recent track record of new releases is lacklustre at best – which means he’s he’s not happy with what he is earning, or what he has in the bank — and he is not scoring the gold and platinum he did earlier in his career. His fannbase shells out $300-$1500 per ticket to see him perform live. But he’s tired and he is not playing the 100 city road shows like he used to. So he is not earning the big bucks any more… neither is Boston of Bob Dylan. Warner Bros will make many times what he earns per year with this one complilations (selling it at $75 per each). He had issues with the Bang folks and weaseled his way out of that contract by handing over a boatload of nonsense songs. Then, somehow he let himself get taken again by “his management company”. I don’t feel sorry for him. Most of us are victims of our own decisions. This all comes from a man who (when interviewed) states, it’s a job… Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Van fan… but he needs to stop crying and think about retiring.

  11. BigCell says:

    Whoever has the royalty rights, Warner should not state that Van Morrison issues whatever without Mr. Morrison’s agreement.
    Please excuse my bad english, I am only a kraut.

  12. Ron says:

    Scott – I ran a record store for 8 years and read and heard of a multitude of stories of artists having their art stolen from them for a pittance. The record companies / management have a lot of tricks to essentially conning artists out of their work. To imply that an artist should accept this because they received a token payment is wrong. Just because he is worth $60 million, doesn’t mean he hasn’t been robbed.

    Van Morrison is one of the greatest artists of our time and we should give him the respect of controlling his art. I don’t care if he doesn’t want to release it because he got out of bed on the wrong side; it is his creation, not a product to be shifted.

  13. I am unhappy. I prefer Astral Weeks.

  14. Tom says:

    Personally, I think the set looks beautiful. But maybe WB could offer Van Morrison the opportunity to make some revisions without compromising the integrity of the set. Or, at the very least, they could come to some common ground. In the end, it’s the music fans who are stuck in the middle.

    Now fans who want this reissue will feel guilty or feel bad for wanting to buy it knowing the artist is against it. It was the same predicament I had a few years ago when I purchased a Jeff Healey Band CD/DVD set which was not endorsed by Jeff Healey’s estate. I bought it and enjoyed it but felt a tinge of guilt.

    • Lee says:

      Did you buy it yet, Tom?

      It’s anything but beautiful: there’s no slipcase, a sleeve you can’t open far enough to actually read the book and – gasp! – it’s all held together with double sided sticky tape. After twenty four hours, my copy came apart.

      It’s a travesty of packaging that gives deluxe editions a bad name. It’s nowhere near worth the £45 asking price.

  15. walter says:

    Why are the previous deluxe reissues of “No Guru” on CD going for over $75 bucks on amazon and ebay? why did they delete the reissues so quickly?

  16. Richard says:

    He should get at least 6.5% Mcps royalty regardless of who owns the recording. Dunno why he thinks he is being stolen from. And then if it is promoted well it will end up on radio and telly and then he will get ppl money as the songwriter and prs money as the performer.

  17. Gerry Young says:

    Unfortunate perhaps, but it happens all the time in the music business .Take it like a man Van.

  18. Ron says:

    Artists getting ripped off by record companies is as common as a street mugging. So I expect you defenders of the record companies to take it like a man and don’t complain if someone hits on your head and takes your money.

  19. Rich says:

    Know this is slightly off-topic, but card sleeves again for the discs!! Aargh.

  20. Bill says:

    I am not a legendary musician or song writer, I am not a record company. I have not got money to burn. I can wait till a rich friend buys this then I can select and listen to the new or unheard tracks of my choice and afterwards listen to my own old copy of the album maybe as much as 3 times a year. I would urge completists to get a grip (unless you are very wealthy) then carry on . I’ve heard that that there are new bands and artists that are pretty good too. It all did not all stop in the 1980’s you know

  21. musicfann says:

    This is a specialty item, for rabid fans, anyway, so Van has NOTHING to worry about it being a “platinum release”.

  22. ALVERA says:

    I am curious to find out what blog system you’re working with? I’m having some small security issues with my latest website and I’d like to find something more safe. Do you have any suggestions?

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