LCM Classic: ‘Into The Mystic’ - Van Morrison (1970)
Our LCM Classic this week is a beautiful track from Van Morrison’s 1970’s album ‘Moondance’. It was recorded during the Moondance sessions at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in September to November 1969 with Elliott Scheiner the engineer. It’s one of our favourite Van Morrison songs.
The lyrics are about a spiritual quest, which is sometimes typical of Van Morrison's work. "Bass thrums like a boat in motion, and the song comes back to water as a means of magical transformation." "At the very end Van sings: “too late to stop now”, suggesting that the song also describes an act of love." (This phrase would also become a key point of many live concerts.) Compared to "Yesterday" by The Beatles, it has been described as "another song where the music and the words seem to have been born together, at the same time, to make one perfectly formed, complete artistic element.“
Van Morrison remarked on the song and how its use of homophones lent it alternate meanings:
"'Into the Mystic' is another one like 'Madame Joy' and 'Brown Eyed Girl'. Originally I wrote it as 'Into the Misty'. But later I thought that it had something of an ethereal feeling to it so I called it 'Into the Mystic'. That song is kind of funny because when it came time to send the lyrics in WB Music, I couldn't figure out what to send them. Because really the song has two sets of lyrics. For example, there's 'I was born before the wind' and 'I was borne before the wind', and also 'Also younger than the son, Ere the bonny boat was one' and 'All so younger than the son, Ere the bonny boat was won' ... I guess the song is just about being part of the universe."
“Into the Mystic" is No. 474 on the list of Rolling Stone magazine's 2010 feature, The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and was listed as No. 42 on The 885 Essential XPN Songs compiled in 2008 by WXPN from listener's votes.