Van Morrison: 9 Great versions of “Listen To The Lion”

van morrison listen to the lion

And all my love come down
All my love come tumblin’ down
All my love come tumblin’ down
All my love come tumblin’ down
Oh, listen listen
To the lion
Oh, listen listen listen
To the lion…
Inside of me
Oh, oh, oh

“And all my love come tumbling down….” An 11-minute journey into music as a distillation of spirit, as Morrison searches his “very soul” for the lion “inside of me”. The music is as delicate as breath on a window pane, looking out on a vision of hope and redemption. Van’s voice scats, breathes, roars, lilts and sways before finally dissolving in a rapturous journey into glossolalia. “And we sailed and we sailed….”
~The Telegraph

..but arguably the best due to Van’s most amazing vocal performance ever. The song is an 11:08 minute soul journey into finding and following your inner voice amid crashing piano, cascading acoustic guitar, and strumming mandolin. That alone makes it a good song, but what takes it to best of all time level is at about the five minute mark Van stops singing words and starts scatting non-stop for the next 3 minutes. He growls, wails, roars, and howls as if possessed and wrestling with the lion inside. After these vocal fireworks the exhausted Van finishes the song barely whispering about sailing on a journey to mystical Caledonia. A fascinating, one of a kind song.
~theframjak (hubpages.com)

Listen To The Lion” is one of my favorite Van Morrison songs. Here are 9 different versions.

Wikipedia:

Listen to the Lion” is a song featured on Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison’s sixth album, Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972). Its poetic musings and “bass-led shuffle” lead back to Astral Weeks territory.

Released July 1972
Recorded Spring/Summer 1971, Columbia Studios, San Francisco
Genre Folk rock, R&B
Length 11:08
Label Warner Bros. Records
Writer Van Morrison
Composer Van Morrison
Producer Ted Templeman, Van Morrison

Van-Morrison-Saint-Dominic-s-Preview-1972

Album version:

van morrison too late to stop now

From the live album “It’s Too Late To Stop Now” (recorded in 1973)

And I shall search my soul
I shall search my very soul
And I shall search my very soul
I shall search my very so-o-oul

For the lion
For the lion
For the lion
For the lion…
Inside of me
Oh, oh, yeah

van Morrison-winterland-1974

Winterland, San Francisco, CA –  Feb 2, 1974

And all my tears have flown
All my tears like water flown
And all my tears like water flown
All my tears like-a water flown

For the lion
For the lion
For the lion
For the lion…
Inside of me

van Morrison-the-forum-1974

The Felt Forum in New York City – March 15, 1974

[growling, scatting, etc.]

Listen to the lion [repeated 14 times]

[more scatting]

van Morrison-The-Orphanage-29.07.1974

Orphanage, San Francisco, CA – July 29, 1974

And we sailed, and we sailed…
And we sailed, and we sailed…
And we sailed, and we sailed…
… sailed to Caledonia

And we sailed, and we sailed,
And we sailed, and we sailed, and we sailed…
Away from Denmark
Way up to Caledonia
Away from Denmark
Way up to Caledonia

Van-Morrison-Live-At-Montreux 1980

Montreux – June 18, 1980

And we sailed, and we sailed, and we sailed…
All around the World
And we sailed…, and we sailed…, and we sailed…
Looking for a brand new start

And we sailed…
And we sailed, and we sailed…
All around the World
… a brand new start

with The Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra
Live at Toldkammeret, Helsingør, Denmark, August 5th, 1995

Looking for a brand new start
Looking for a brand new start
Looking for a brand new start

And we sailed, and we sailed, and we sailed…
And we sailed…
Away from the Golden Gate
Way up to the New York City

Live at The Point depot – The Pristine FM Broadcast – Dec 17, 1995

Hollywood Bowl, LA, November 2008

-Egil