Van Morrison and Them, 1966

BG-12 Early Fillmore poster by Wes Wilson advertising rock concert by Van Morrison and Them on June 23, 1966

Wes Wilson (1937-2020)


Van Morrison with Them, 1966


First printing, lithograph, Condition: Very Good


Framed: 26" tall x 20" wide





Close-up of frame


British band Them (led by Van Morrison) made their first San Francisco appearance at this concert. with Haight Ashbury’s New Tweedy Brothers. Wes Wilson, Father of the Psychedelic Poster did 45 of Bill Graham’s first 50 posters and this was number 12. He was still experimenting with typefaces and form and here his rounded rolling psychedelic lettering was still quite legible in very vibrant pink and green. Wilson’s undulating “picture frame” form in this piece suggests liquid light show splash effects that were going on in the background onstage. Compared to the art that followed, this poster seems fairly tame and straightforward, but considering what was before, this was downright radical. 



Them, named after a Sci-Fi horror film from 1954, began recording in mid 1964 and over their short career with Van Morrison had hits with “Turn on Your Lovelight,” “Gloria,” “Baby Please Don’t Go,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” and “Here Comes The Night.”



In April 1965, Them made a guest appearance at the New Musical Express Pollwinners Concert which also included The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Animals, and The Moody Blues. The bands had been expected to keep to their current hits, but Them audaciously segued from "Here Comes the Night" into a seven-minute version of "Turn on Your Lovelight". Afterwards, NME's Derek Johnson wrote that Morrison had "more genuine soul than any of his British contemporaries"



This poster advertised Them and 20-year old Van Morrison’s last American tour together when Morrison was at the height of his powers before going solo. This concert followed a three-week run at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles where a local band called The Doors opened up each night and a young Jim Morrison was there studying Van’s every move. You will note on the poster the song “Gloria,” was promoted as Them’s current hit and indeed the Doors later made that an important part of their repertoire.  On the last night the two bands and the Morrisons jammed on a twenty-minute Gloria and a twenty-five-minute version of “In the Midnight Hour.”



Now wait a minute.  “In the Midnight Hour.” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue.” “Gloria.” “Lovelight?” What are the chances that members of the Grateful Dead were in the audience that night in June 1966?  Pretty good, as the show was on Thursday night - unheard of up until that point when the Fillmore and Avalon shows were only on the weekend. Also, listen to Them’s version of Baby Blue and you’ll hear Beck’s hit, “Jack-Ass,” loud and clear. A truly important band and equally important poster.

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