Cleaning Windows

Album: Beautiful Vision (1982)


  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dave - Toledo, OH

Comments: 9

  • Scott M from San BernardinoThis song is all about living in the moment and enjoying the simple pleasures in life. He is reading Christmas Humphrey's book on Zen, Kerouac's Dharma Bums, which is about two men searching for Zen, and On The Road.

    His message...Enjoy life folks
  • Colin Hugh Abbott from Jarrahdale, Western Australia.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!
  • Stevie from Weehawken, NjI like the reggae feel to this one.
  • Emmett from St. Louis, MoJames - that's what its gotta be.
  • Bill from Pensacola, FlLeadbelly, 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!
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkGreat house cleaning song
  • James from Jacksonville, Fldont 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.
  • Kevin from Reading , PaI 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.
  • Keir from Aberystwyth, WalesLove this song, upbeat feel, upbeat sentiments. And a grand chorus to sing along to!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Black Sabbath

Black SabbathFact or Fiction

Dwarfs on stage with an oversize Stonehenge set? Dabbling in Satanism? Find out which Spinal Tap-moments were true for Black Sabbath.

What Musicians Are Related to Other Musicians?

What Musicians Are Related to Other Musicians?Song Writing

A big list of musical marriages and family relations ranging from the simple to the truly dysfunctional.

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"They're Playing My Song

When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.

Dave Edmunds

Dave EdmundsSongwriter Interviews

A renowned guitarist and rock revivalist, Dave took "I Hear You Knocking" to the top of the UK charts and was the first to record Elvis Costello's "Girls Talk."

Ian Astbury of The Cult

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.