Beautiful Vision (1982)
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The Background: The popular perception seems to be that Van lost his way in the early ’80s, and it’s true that Beautiful Vision, like a lot of his work from the period, isn’t as punchy as his earlier stuff; if your tolerance for New Age mysticism is low, you may find this a less-than-entertaining affair. On the other hand, Van was using a stellar band at the time — Pee Wee Ellis and Mark Isham on horns and Peter Van Hooke on drums, not to mention Rob Wasserman on bass and special guest Mark Knopfler on guitar — and though these songs may not reach out and punch you in the rock & roll groan bone, quite a few of them are better than you might expect (or remember).
The Standards: “Cleaning Windows” and “Dweller on the Threshold”
Billboard Chart Peak: #44