“Van the Man” released his third solo album, Moondance forty years ago. After the unstructured recording of his previous landmark album, Astral Weeks, Morrison decided to try his hand at producing his own album using similar techniques. He moved to a home on a mountain top in upstate New York near the village of Woodstock with his wife, Janet Planet. There he enlisted the help of several nearby musicians.

With the musical arrangements only in his head and not written down, Van and friends entered the recording studio. Although most of the vocals were live, Morrison said later that he would have preferred to cut the entire album that way. Moondance turned out to be every bit as much a classic as its predecessor.

It was his first commercially successful solo effort and was highly accessible blending together jazz, soul, country, and blues. Included on the album were the hit songs: “And It Stoned Me,” “Moondance,” “Caravan” and “Into the Mystic.” The multi-platinum album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Photography by Elliot Landy.

Check out the latest Warners Bros./Rhino vinyl reissues, including a wonderful Kevin Gray mastered LP of this album:

(Photographer: Elliott Landy)