Spread your wings
Come on fly awhile
Straight to my arms
Little angel child
You know you only
Lonely twenty-two story block
I was in San Francisco one time in 1966 and I was attracted to the city. It was the first time I had been there, and I was sitting in this hotel and all these things were going through my head, and I had a flash about an actress in an opera house appearing in a ballet, and I think that’s where the song came from.
-Van Morrison (to Ritchie Yorke)
If anyone ever argues that Morrison cannot sing – an unlikely scenario anyway – then simply play them this. All human emotion is crystallised here, and subtly vocalised: desire, joy, hope, world weariness, consolidation, awe & anticipation. The “angel child” here is also a fully mature woman. What sounds like a penny whistle comes in just at the end, almost subliminally. Van´s Celtic phase starts here.
-Brian Hinton (Celtic Crossroads)
Ballerina was recorded during the last Astral Weeks session on October 15, 1968 at Century Sound Studios in New York City. Lewis Merenstein was the producer.
He has performed it live 180 times according to the brilliant website ivan.vanomatic.de.
Here are 6 thrilling versions: