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Monday, 5 February 2018

Great Popular Songs (6): Into The Mystic

"And when that foghorn blows I want to hear it, I don't have to fear it."
Van Morrison wrote Into The Mystic for his 1970 album Moondance. It has a beautiful poetic lyric which, like many songs of it's type, is open to various interpretations. After nearly fifty years it shows no sign of sounding 'dated' and has already been featured in at least half a dozen movies.
You can listen to it by clicking here

Into The Mystic. Words and Music by Van Morrison:
We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic
And when that foghorn blows I will be coming home
And when that foghorn blows I want to hear it
I don't have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float into the mystic
And when that foghorn blows you know I will be coming home
And when that foghorn whistle blows I got to hear it
I don't have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will float into the mystic
Come on girl
Too late to stop now...
So, lean and spare lyrics which are melded to the melody in a  grip so strong that a permanent atmosphere is created. The mood is mystical, magical and spiritual in feel. The words are open to several differing meanings via homophones such as "We were born/borne before the wind". Van Morrison himself expressed doubt about which meaning he intended. As with so many lyrics and poetry you can take your own interpretation.  Too late to stop now.......


Parnassus said...

Hello Bazza, I have to admit that I am not too familiar with recent songs. I once looked up the top songs for the year I graduated high school, and had not heard of one of them. When I went back to the 1890's, however, I knew almost all of them. One thing for certain--Tin Pan Alley never dies.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Nearly fifty years old. Hard to believe, isn't it? I wonder if any of the popular music of today will still be relevant fifty years from now.

bazza said...

Jim: It depends what you mean by 'recent'! This song was released nearly 48 years ago. I love plenty of songs that were around before I was born. Stephen Foster died aged 37 in 1864; his songs were great.

bazza said...

Susan: Good point. Most people like the music they were first aware of and from their adolescence. The first record I bought was by the Everly Brothers and I still like it! It's hard to see today's music lasting so long.

All Consuming said...

It reads as a poem, which is always a good sign for lyrics and there's definitely an overlap between the two. Nice words sir.

bazza said...

AC: You are clearly too young to remember this classic song! One thing the songs in this series have in common is their refusal to sound 'dated'. It's rather personal of course; I never of hearing Into The Mystic.

Hels said...

ahhhh Van Morrison .... 1970 .... Moondance. It all returns!

My last year as an undergrad ended in Nov 1970, got married in Dec 1970 and left for overseas in Jan 1971. Van Morrison's music evokes all those emotions, still.

bazza said...

Hels: I find that there are two factors that can instantly send me back in time: music and smalls are, for me, so evocative of those bygone days of youth.
Ah, nostalgia - it's not what it used to be is it?

David said...

Hi bazza,
I adore Van the Man, particularly the album, "Moondance", which as you point out "Into the Mystic" is one of the songs on. I think I even prefer "Moondance" to his other great album, "Astral Weeks", as to my ear it sounds musically tighter and more melodic. If I remember correctly, I once heard someone describe "Astral Weeks" as "poetic", whereas "Moondance" was more "musical".
Very Best Wishes,

David said...

P.S. bazza,
I think in your previous reply to Hels you've mistakenly put "smalls" instead of "smells". Mind you, my smalls can often take me back to those bygone days of youth too!
Best Wishes,

bazza said...

David: 'Smalls'! Ha ha, that's too funny to edit.
I also prefer Moondance over Astral Weeks which I never quite 'got' because it strikes me as a bit self-indulgent.

Sherry Ellis said...

The artist of this song looks like a product from the 70s, but his music certainly can pass for something folksy in this time.

bazza said...

Sherry: As a musician you will know that good music lasts forever although I can't visualise much from today becoming truly 'classical'!

mark bidstrup said...

I'm classically trained, but always a soft spot for Van the man. Have seen him live several times.

bazza said...

Mark: Van is a great live performer but, like Bob Dylan, does not engage the audience - no small talk! He is a true artist and has always gone his own way musically.