Not long after Joe had posted about Rhino’s upcoming expansion of Van Morrison’s Moondance, I vocalized my pleasant surprise at the news. Morrison’s history with reissues has been spotty at best; a late-2000s reissue campaign was quickly halted and almost instantly commanded top dollar on the secondary market.
The next day, however, Morrison issued a statement denouncing the project, taking particular issue with the wording of the press release suggesting he was involved. “It is important that people realise that this is factually incorrect,” the statement read in part. “I did not endorse this, it is unauthorised and it has happened behind my back.”
This is hardly the first time an artist has openly criticized their own catalogue works. Prince, who was allegedly paid to stay out of the compilation and release of The Hits/The B-Sides in 1993, insisted on a bevy of changes to 2006’s Ultimate Prince and then planned a new album to curtail its release. Elvis Costello, whose catalogue has been released three times as expanded CDs on three different labels, suggested that current rights owners Hip-O/UMe had “gotten off on the wrong foot” with a series of live reissues, “doing too many records from the same time period and the same repertoire.” And Morrissey, even as he has gotten involved in radically revisiting his own catalogue, has had choice words for previous box set efforts.
Generally, though, such instances are rare. When it comes to the major labels, most will not (and in some cases cannot) embark on a vault project for a beloved artist without the consent (if not participation) of the artist in question. This isn’t for fear of bad publicity, but the more obvious legal entanglements.
The question we pose for you today, in light of Van Morrison’s opinions, is this: will his – or anyone’s – opinion of this apparently “unauthorised” catalogue activity stop you from opening your wallets? Have a vote in our poll and let us know what you think!