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Cleaning Windows by Van Morrison Songfacts
Morrison worked as a window cleaner in the early '60s before his musical career took off. This song reflects the happy memories he had of those times. (thanks, Dave - Toledo, OH)
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I lived in Martinez Avenue, Belfast during the 1960s. Cyprus Avenue ran parallel to our Avenue ... literally a stone's throw away. Sir George Ivan Morrison lived just a few hundred metres away, in Hyndford Street. We sometimes shared the same trolley bus home to the Bloomfield area. My late brother, Roy Abbott (lead guitar), backed Van on two or three occasions in Belfast. If you listen carefully to the last few moments of "Cleaning Windows" you will hear Van say "If we don't get paid, we'll have to go down to the dole". He was really struggling for money in those days, despite having enjoyed reasonable success with Them. In 1967, I was enjoying drinks in Mooney's Cocktail Bar, Central Belfast, when, late in the evening, Van Morrison walked in, stood at the bar, and ordered a drink. It was nearly "closing time", so I thought I'd better nip to the toilet, before going home. I stood there, at the urinal, minding my own business, when, who should follow me in? ... none other than Van the Man himself. He stood by my side and said: "Can you lend me a quid?" ... 'Oh! I'm sorry, I can't' ... "Ten bob then?" ... once again I had to say 'No, sorry' ... the truth was, I had only three shillings and sixpence in my pocket ... I turned, and walked out of the toilet, leaving Van standing there. Thus, I go down in history, as the man who didn't lend Sir George Ivan Morrison any money. And, just for the record, I regret that I didn't have a few bob to lend him. Sorry, Van ... but I never did have much money. The following year, as you all would know, Sir George Ivan Morrison travelled to the USA ... and recorded Astral Weeks. He is now worth millions!
Colin Hugh Abbott - Jarrahdale, Western Australia.
I like the reggae feel to this one.
Stevie - Weehawken, Nj
James - that's what its gotta be.
Emmett - St. Louis, Mo
Leadbelly, Blind Lemon, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee, Muddy Waters, Kerouac. Van loves to name check all the people that influenced him.
I am so glad Leadbelly (Hudie Ledbetter) was recorded, because he greatly influenced Van into music even though he'd be just as happy cleaning windows!
Bill - Pensacola, Fl
Great house cleaning song
Lalah - Wasilla, Ak
dont let it slide, someone up on top with the "v"? - are these references to some tools used in the window cleaning trade?
I love how it goes into details about cleaning windows. Also - they collect and then clean the fan light inside out, i presume just as a favor being simple hardworking laborers.
James - Jacksonville, Fl
I love Van the Man's music, but everything I've every read about him -- including a biography of a couple of years ago -- points to him being a really miserable person. One music industry person went so far as to say in the biography that he needs professional help. He does seem to be able to find beauty and joy in music, however, and this song is one of his upbeat, fun songs.
Kevin - Reading , Pa
Love this song, upbeat feel, upbeat sentiments. And a grand chorus to sing along to!
Keir - Aberystwyth, Wales
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