Van Morrison stands out in the youth-obsessed, disposable world of modern pop music. A grouchy fireplug of a man, he has earned a loyal following that's always kept guessing as to what direction he'll take next. Since the beginning, Morrison has ignored all fly-by-night fads and in doing so has amassed a timeless body of work. Coming out of Them's primal R&B-fueled Garage Rock, Morrison's 1968 Astral Weeks was a daring, exploratory work that painted a bleak picture of the acid generation, while Moondance (1970) was a breezy celebration of life. These albums have set the stage for an artist who freely mixes soul, folk, blues, jazz, and his native Celtic influences into highly personal, idiosyncratic music. Only a handful of his later albums are masterpieces on the level of No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986), but each release contains at least one brilliant track. A private man, Van Morrison is more comfortable talking about heroes such as Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, or Jerry Lee Lewis than himself.