'I had absolutely nothing'!' Van Morrison recalls struggles of early career
Van Morrison has recalled having "absolutely nothing" in the early days of his solo career.
The 77-year-old singer is now known for hits like 'Brown Eyed Girl' and 'Days Like This' but admitted that after leaving the band Them in the late 1960s, he struggled to find work because his producer Bert Berns - who died of heart failure aged 38 in December 1967 - was "trying to get rid" of him.
He told The Saturday Times: "Bert Berns didn’t get me a work permit and his company was actually trying to get rid of me, but instead of telling me, it was all cloak and dagger. He got involved in running a studio and, at the same time, he was sabotaging my recordings. There were all kinds of dark things going on, which is why I had more in common with the black R’n’B artists who got ripped off than I did with the Beatles and the Stones, because they were going through similar things.
"You couldn’t make it up! After Bert Berns died, an Irish-American guy got me out of New York and I was in Boston, sleeping on a friend’s couch, no proper management set-up, and I was abroad so that made it worse. I was at the bottom. Game over. Total oppression"
The 'Moondance' hitmaker went on to add that his second studio album 'Astral Weeks' was his way out of the "chaos" surrounding him as he explained that success in the music industry is all dependant on "survival."
He added: "I had to fight my way out and the only way I could do that was through music. 'Astral Weeks' came out of it because creativity comes out of chaos. But you can go up or down in this business, and it all depends on whether you survive or not. Think of all the Sixties bands you never heard from again.
"You work through the moment. There is a book called 'The Business of Music' and the advice is: don’t rely on anybody, trust nobody. Understand the business, the contracts. Does the producer or the manager own the recordings? That’s why you end up getting nothing — because someone else owns it all. I was forced to learn this stuff."