Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

“My Tongue Gets t-t-t-”: Words, Sense and Vocal Presence in Van Morrison’s It’s Too Late to Stop Now

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard ElliottORCiD



Van Morrison's live version of his song ‘Cyprus Avenue’ on the 1974 album It's Too Late to Stop Now provides an example of the authority of the singer's voice and of how it leads and demands submission from musicians, songs, and audience. Morrison's voice constantly suggests that it is reflecting important experience and can be understood both as an attempt to capture something and as a post-hoc witnessing or testimony. Through the example of Morrison's work, and of It's Too Late to Stop Now in particular, this article explores the location of the voice in terms of the body and of particular places and histories. It then proceeds to a reflection on the relationship between the performing voice as producer of sound, noise, and music and the poetic voice that provides the words and visions upon which the performing voice goes to work. It concludes by focusing on a moment within ‘Cyprus Avenue’ where Morrison performs the act of being tongue-tied, discussing this as an example of ‘aesthetic stutter’. Throughout, attention is also paid to how other voices (particularly those of rock critics) connect to Morrison's voice by attempting to describe it, re-perform it, or explain it.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Elliott R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Twentieth-Century Music

Year: 2016

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

Pages: 53-76

Print publication date: 14/03/2016

Online publication date: 14/03/2016

Acceptance date: 26/01/2016

Date deposited: 08/02/2017

ISSN (print): 1478-5722

ISSN (electronic): 1478-5730

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1478572215000171


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric