"Van Morrison," says Greil Marcus, "remains a singer who can be compared to no other in the history of modern popular music." The wild turbulence of his music, mirroring the swings in his popular acclaim, makes him one of the most perplexing and mysterious figures in modern music. He willfully resists simple categorization -- he is as much a bluesman as a Celtic soul singer, a rock and roller as a folk singer, a diva as a balladeer; his greatest songs are at one moment his own, at another covers of those by others.
When That Rough God Goes Riding reveals Greil Marcus, America's most insightful cultural critic, at his best as he pursues Morrison's particular and peculiar genius through the extraordinary and unclassifiable moments in Morrison's career, beginning in 1965 and continuing in full force to this day. Marcus has listened to "Astral Weeks" more than any other album by any artist, yet he is prepared to dismiss seventeen years of Morrison's work as utterly forgettable. In this way Marcus pursues the high points and dislocations in which Morrison reaches a unique and extreme musical threshold, and illuminates one of our most enigmatic and revelatory performers.
Greil Marcus is an American author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is notable for producing scholarly and literary essays that place rock music in a much broader framework of culture and politics than is customary in pop music journalism.
Marcus was born in San Francisco. He earned an undergraduate degree in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also did graduate work in political science. He has been a rock critic and columnist for Rolling Stone (where he was the first reviews editor, at $30 a week) and other publications, including Creem, the Village Voice and Artforum.
Marcus is the author of Mystery Train, Lipstick Traces and Invisible Republic, among many other books.