Born George Ivan Morrison in Belfast in 1945, Morrison has received six Grammy Awards (1996-2007), the 1994 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, and has been inducted into the Irish Music Hall of Fame (September 1999) and the Songwriters Hall of Fame (June 2003). In 2015 he is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his musical achievements and his services to tourism and charitable causes in Northern Ireland.
Morrison’s influence can readily be heard in the music of a diverse array of major artists and according to The Rolling Stone’s Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, “his influence among rock singers/song writers is unrivaled by any living artist outside of that other prickly legend, Bob Dylan. Echoes of Morrison’s rugged literateness and his gruff, feverish emotive vocals can be heard in latter day icons ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Elvis Costello.”
Morrison is inducted into the Hall along with luminaries Ruth Brown, Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, and Etta James. In his induction speech of Morrison, the Band’s Robbie Robertson says, “In the tradition of the great Irish poets and the great soul singers, he is the Caruso of rock and roll.” Morrison becomes notable as the first living inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not to attend his own ceremony. Robertson accepts the award on Morrison’s behalf.
This “Caruso of rock and roll” and magnificent songwriter is also one of the most curmudgeonly live performers in rock and roll history. The satirical Onion newspaper writes of him, “Morrison deserves a spot in the Rock Hall based on his record-breaking streak of 4,256 consecutive shows performed without cracking a smile.”