Reissued January 2008
|Genre:||Pop rock, R&B|
|Last Album:||A Period of Transition|
|Next Album:||Into the Music|
Wavelength is an album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1978 (see 1978 in music). The album had a different atmosphere from his previous albums, as it had a more pop oriented sound due to his heavy use of electric guitars and synthesizers. Bobby Tench and Peter Bardens were given special credit as "Special Assistance in Production."
The cover on the album was by photographer Norman Seeff (associated with Joni Mitchell's album sleeves) and shows Morrison for once almost smiling and looking James Dean like dressed in tight white trousers smoking a cigarette down to the butt.
Wavelength was recorded at the Manor in Oxfordshire England over several months and completed later, at Shangri-la studios in America. Morrison had brought together musicians that represented almost all phases of his musical history: Herbie Armstrong from his showband days in Belfast, Peter Bardens from Them, Garth Hudson from The Band and Peter Van Hooke from the mid-70s. He also brings in Bobby Tench from The Jeff Beck Group and Hummingbird.
The songs on this album also recall various stages of Morrison's life, starting with the album opener, "Kingdom Hall" which reflected back to his childhood in Belfast when he attended services with his mother, a practicing Jehovah's Witness at one time. "Checking It Out" is about a relationship going wrong and being rescued by "guides and spirits along the way". "Natalia", "Venice USA" and "Lifetimes" are love songs. "Wavelength" was about fond memories of his adolescence, listening to the Voice of America. The next track incorporates two songs Morrison had written in the early 70s: "Santa Fe", written with Jackie DeShannon in 1973, is Morrison's first ever collaboration to appear on an album; the second song, "Beautiful Obsession", was first played in concert in 1971, although a studio version of the song is not known to have been recorded during that time period. "Hungry For Your Love" appeared in the hit 1982 movie An Officer and a Gentleman and has become one of the more enduringly popular songs on the album along with the title song. Morrison plays electric piano on this song accompanied by Herbie Armstrong's acoustic guitar. Morrison also included "Hungry For Your Love" on his 2007 compilation album Van Morrison at the Movies - Soundtrack Hits.
It quickly became the fastest selling album that Morrison had recorded at that time and went gold within three months. Melody Maker reviewed the album as evidence of Morrison's "drift into the American dream." Morrison denied that the songs were anything but about personal experience, and were not about the country.  (Relocating to Europe within a few years, his work during the 1980s would not be so "radio friendly" and so easily accessible to the casual listener.)With the success of the album, Morrison assembled a Wavelength band to promote it that was similar in many ways to the abandoned The Caledonia Soul Orchestra of It's Too Late to Stop Now fame.
All songs written by Van Morrison except as noted.
organ, synthesizer, accordion
guitar, backing vocals
Album - Billboard
Album - UK Album Chart
|1979||UK Album Chart||27|