Skip to Content
wgbh News


Boston In 1968: The Birthplace Of 'Astral Weeks,' A Musical Masterpiece

Van Morrison performs on the Boston Common, April 20, 1968.
Courtesy of MONTUSE/Dick Iacovello/

At 22 years old, Van Morrison had a hit on the radio (Brown Eyed Girl), but he was broke and on the run, searching for his next sound. Landing in Boston, he gathered several groups of local young musicians and formed the sound that would be "Astral Weeks." 

In his book, "Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968," author Ryan Walsh tells the backstory of the creation of Van Morrison's iconic "Astral Weeks" album. Morrison spent the summer of 1968 in Boston playing with local musicians in coffee shops and other small gigs, molding the sound of what ended up being an acoustically-driven, deeply emotional album.   

Walsh discusses Morrison's time in Boston and the musicians who were a large part of the creation of this new sound.  He also talks about his own journey tracking down Boston music legends, and we hear a small piece of those unheard sessions.

WGBH News coverage is a resource provided by member-supported public radio. We can’t do it without you.