“Caravan“ is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison…..which was included on his 1970 album, Moondance…..as it was a concert highlight for several years….and was included as one of the songs on Morrison’s 1974 acclaimed live album, It’s Too Late to Stop Now. It was also performed by Morrison with The Band in the 1978 film by Martin Scorsese entitled The Last Waltz….as seen in this video herewith…..which commemorates The Band’s last concert appearance together before ceasing to tour, on Thanksgiving Day 1976.
“Caravan” was originally recorded on July 30, 1969 at Mastertone Studios in New York City….with Lewis Merenstein as producer….as the theme of the song is about gypsy life and the radio which are both images of harmony….plus, Van Morrison also based the song on real memories while living in a rural house in Woodstock, New York….where the nearest house was far down the road. He described why he included the reference to radio in the song by saying….“I could hear the radio like it was in the same room. I don’t know how to explain it. There was some story about an underground passage under the house I was living in, rumours from kids and stuff and I was beginning to think it was true. How can you hear someone’s radio from a mile away, as if it was playing in your own house? So I had to put that into the song, It was a must.”
In his book, Songbook….which was about his 31 favorite songs….Nick Hornby names “Caravan” from Morrison’s live album, It’s Too Late to Stop Now….as the song he wants played at his funeral….when he writes that “in the long, vamped passage right before the climax Morrison’s band seems to isolate a moment somewhere between life and its aftermath, a big, baroque entrance hall of a place where you can stop and think about everything that has gone before.” Then he humorously realizes that this is also the place where Morrison introduces the band and wonders how the mourners will feel about hearing all the unknown people’s names being called out as they file out of the funeral….but says “I’m not changing my mind, so there.”