November 1978: The Night Van Morrison Serenaded 'Saturday Night Live'

Alan Singer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
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(Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Van Morrison enamored his California dreamers on his 1978 musical stint on Saturday Night Live performing his love songs for America, Wavelength, his album released that same year.

In early November, host Steve Martin set the scene with a monologue on President Carter’s efforts to persuade the American public that inflation was merely “a wonderful new opportunity be a millionaire.” 

Musical guest Morrison was the ideal candidate to offset this economic turbulence and climate of unrest, entering the stage with a groovy ease to perform his blissed out, synth-sensual tracks “Wavelength” and “Kingdom Hall.” 

An album that commanded the attention (and hearts) of pop radio listeners, Wavelength was a romantic endeavor of all sorts, with tracks like “Venice USA” and “Santa Fe / Beautiful Obsession,” that confessed Morrison's endearment of America's western regions. Most notably from the album emerged “Wavelength,” a harmonic 1970’s synth fused, spacey song that Morrison lyrically attested, “could never let [one] down.”

It was certainly no easy feat to follow the likes of Frank Zappa as a musical guest on the late night comedy show, but Morrison did so smoothly, and it further assured Morrison lovers that post-Moondance Morrison was here to stay.

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