Van Morrison’s 50 Greatest Songs Countdown – #50 Queen of the Slipstream

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message message_box_color=”mulled_wine” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]You’re the queen of the slipstream
With eyes that shine
You have crossed many waters to be here
You have drank of the fountain of innocence
And experienced the long cold wintry years[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]


  1. Facts
  3. Lyrics
  4. Live versions
  5. Cover versions



A romantic ballad written by Van Morrison and recorded on his 1987 album, Poetic Champions Compose. In 1988 it was released as a single in the U.K., but did not chart.

It was recorded at the same sessions as the other tracks that were released on Poetic Champions Compose in the summer of 1987 at the Wool Hall Studios, Beckington.

Morrison used a full string orchestra for “Queen of the Slipstream”, as Fiachra Trench, the arranger of the string parts, told biographer Peter Mills: “[Morrison’s] string sessions in the USA had been for a smaller section than I used: I think we had about 26 players. The string session went very smoothly … On “Queen of the Slipstream” I reduced the strings to a chamber group for Van’s harmonica solo and the second bridge which follows. Otherwise it’s the full section.” Trench went on to say: “Some of the string lines are derived from Neil Drinkwater’s piano lines. I often use that technique when writing string arrangements, it helps to make the strings sound more part of the track, less like an overdub, less pop.”

The lyrics quote two of Morrison’s songs from his early career; “the slipstream” derives from “Astral Weeks” and the lines “I see you slipping and sliding in the snow … you come running to me, you’ll come running to me” were used in “Come Running“.


  • Van Morrison – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, alto saxophone
  • Neil Drinkwater – piano, synthesizer
  • Martin Drover – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Roy Jones – drums, percussion
  • Steve Pearce – bass


  • Producer: Van Morrison
  • Engineer: Mick Glossop
  • Coordination: Sian Williams
  • String and Woodwind arrangements: Fiachra Trench
  • Synthesizer Programming: Paul Ridout


  • Known Performances: 70
  • First performance: September 19, 1987 in Loughborough, UK
  • Last performance: November 23, 2014 in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

Here are the Loughborough 1987 version:

And here the Downpatrick 2014 version:


Though not the best known, Morrison’s greatest love song, in my view, is the .. `Queen Of The Slipstream, but that tune could never have become a standard in the way that `Have I Told You Lately’ has, partly because its lyrical and musical symbologies are so closely associated to Morrison himself. Can we imagine Rod Stewart blandly crooning about the slipstream and the poetic champions as he does the lyric to `Have I Told You Lately’? It seems unlikely.
–> Peter Mills. Hymns to the Silence: Inside the Words and Music of Van Morrison

Wether manufactured or the result of his instinctive curiosities, the mood continues as Morrison ventures into “Queen of the slipstream”, a song embellished by a beautiful string arrangement and which, like significant parts of “No Guru, No Method, No Teacher”, references older glories. Here he sings quite plainly of “Going away far across the sea, bit I´ll be back for you”; the restless traveller, romantic but determined. You can imagine him singing it to a lover from a rowing boat as he prepares to abandon her on the shore.
–> Peter Watts (The Ultimate Music Guide – Van Morrison)

Queen of the Slipstream starts off with some interesting guitar plucking before it settles into a slow, steady tempo. The strings are very tasteful and seem to be made especially for the song rather than being added just for the sake of it. Neil Drinkwater, one of the stars of the album, adds some nice touches on the piano. Van himself adds a touch of harmonica, but it isn’t one of his most memorable efforts.  I am not sure who the heroine of the song is, but obviously she seems to have found favour with Van. The song ends strongly before the fade out kicks in.
–> Holmes, Mark. Van Morrison 20 Best Albums: A Guide


You’re the queen of the slipstream
With eyes that shine
You have crossed many waters to be here
You have drank of the fountain of innocence
And experienced the long cold wintry years

There’s a dream where the contents are visible
Where the poetic champions compose
Will you breathe not a word of this secrecy
Will you still be my special rose?

Goin’ away far across the sea
But I’ll be back for you
I’m gonna tell you everything I know
Baby, everything is true

Will the blush still remain
On your cheeks, my love?
Is the light, is the light always seen in your hair?
Gold and sliver they placed
At your feet, my dear
But I know you chose me instead

All right

Well, I’m goin’ away far across the sea
But I’ll be back for you
Tell you everything I know
Baby, everything is true

You’re the queen of the slipstream
I love you so
You have crossed many waters to be here
And you drank, and you drank at the fountains of innocence
And experienced, you know very well

You’re the queen (you’re the queen), queen of the slipstream (queen of the slipstream)
Yeah, yeah, queen of the slipstream (you’re the queen)
I seen you slippin’ and slidin’ in the snow (you’re the queen)
Oh, queen of the slipstream (you’re the queen)
You come running to me, darling (you’re the queen)
Queen of the slipstream (you’re the queen)
(You’re the queen)
(You’re the queen)

Live versions

St Andrews, Fife, Scotland – 1988


Amsterdam, The Netherlands – 1993


Los Angeles, CA – May 7, 2009


The Dome – Brighton, UK – 2014


Cover Versions



Kevin Welch


Celtic Soul

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