The Reason Van Morrison Was Blacklisted By Them

In the midst of the British Invasion, Them captured the hearts of American music lovers in a very revolutionary way. As part of this phenomenon, rock and pop acts from the UK became massively popular in the States. Bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones led the charge, but Them also made their mark in the US.

Van Morrison, the heart and soul of Them, didn’t see himself as part of the British Invasion. In fact, he downright denies it. In a Rolling Stone interview, he talked about his early experiences in America, revealing that he struggled after returning as a solo artist.

Morrison even got an award for being part of the British Invasion, but set the record straight during his acceptance speech by stating that he was never part of it. According to Van, he faced years of struggle and was even blacklisted, something he believes the media doesn’t write about.

He had spoken to Rolling Stone in 2016 about this and said:

“I was just a kid. That was a three-month trip. I know we played in Portland, Oregon. We went to Hawaii for a couple of days, and there were gigs in the Bay Area. But it was mainly at the Whisky [in L.A.], playing there. When I came back as a solo artist, there was one hit [1967’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’]. And there were no more hits after that. It was, ‘Who are you?’

I got an award a couple of months ago. Somebody introduced me and said, ‘He was part of the British Invasion.’ I got up and said, ‘Matter of fact, I was never part of the British Invasion.

Because when I went to America as a solo artist, I couldn’t get arrested’ – which was true. I had to go through several years of struggling and being blacklisted, all this crap that nobody writes about at all. That’s real history.”

Van Morrison didn’t filter words when he spoke about being blacklisted by Them. He made it clear that the reason he was blacklisted was his refusal to conform to the band’s demands.

Morrison believed that those in charge wanted artists to bend over backward for them, and Van wasn’t having any of it. He even called out the so-called ‘rock & roll rebels,’ saying they were all conformists and that the real rebels were artists like Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent.

The interviewer asked:

“I don’t actually understand why. You’re a singer.”

He replied:

“Well, you’re very naive. You shouldn’t be in the business you’re in. Because I didn’t go along with their program, that’s why. That’s the only reason why anybody’s blacklisted. Because you don’t want to be a f*cking slave, right? They didn’t want anybody who wasn’t going to bend over for them. You’re not complying – and they want you to comply.

All this bullsh*t about rebels and all that crap – they’re all establishment and complying all the time. All these so-called rebels, rock & roll bullshit – they’re all conformists. Real rebels are people like Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent. They were the real rebels, not these pretenders.”

Van Morrison wasn’t your typical British Invasion poster boy. He faced struggles, was blacklisted, and refused to conform to the demands of the music industry. Instead, he chose to walk his own path. As time has shown, his refusal to bend to the whims of the industry hasn’t slowed down his success but rather contributed to his status as a true icon.