Song:Whenever God Shines His Light
Album:The Best Of Van Morrison
You might think that Van Morrison and Cliff Richard seems like an odd duo. But Whenever God Shines His Light was Morrison's biggest hit in England in 20 years when it was released in 1989. Of course it had a lot to do with Richard who in England was as big as Elvis Presley was everywhere else. When Morrison was having hits in the US back in the late 60s and early 70s, most of those songs didn't chart in England. By the mid-80, Morrison wasn't that interested in hit singles. He had become a born again Christian and he also recorded a lot of traditional Irish music. His 1988 album Irish Heartbeat was recorded with The Chieftains. It might seem strange to music fans in North America but Cliff Richard never faded in England even when he became a born again Christian and recorded mostly Contemporary Christian music. The British were very loyal to him. And occasionally he would record a big hit. His Christmas single Mistletoe and Wine topped the British charts for four weeks in 1988. So maybe it wasn't all that strange that Morrison wanted to record with Richard. The album Avalon Sunset was released in June 1989 and Whenever God Shines His Light was released as a single in November to take advantage of the Christmas market. Morrison and Richard also performed the song on several British TV shows. It reached #20 on the British singles chart and as I said, Morrison hadn't had a big hit in England since the 60s. So it turned out very well. The song Have I Told You Lately is also on Avalon Sunset. Later on that song was a big hit for Rod Stewart. Both songs are on this 1990 comp and it's the only Morrison comp that contains Whenever God Shines His Light. It's not as well known as Morrison's earlier hits but it's interesting considering he recorded it with an unlikely partner like Richard. Here's Van Morrison featuring Cliff Richard performing Whenever God Shines His Light on The Wogan Show Dec. 1989.