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"Saint Dominic's Preview" is the title song on the 1972 sixth album of Northern Irishmarker singer-songwriter Van Morrison. This song was also included on Morrison's acclaimed live album, It's Too Late To Stop Now, released in 1974.

It is said to contain his most Dylanesque lyrics. The words form images but not a complete story as they are mixed with a variety of subjects such as cleaning windows, Edith Piaf's soul, Yeats and Hank Williams. Touching on the Belfast situation at that time (The Troubles), there are references to "orange" boxes, "flags and emblems" and people determined "not to feel anyone else's pain."

Perhaps referring to his personal life and successful career at this time in his life are the lines:
All the restaurant tables are completely covered
And the record company has paid out for the wine
You got ev'rything in the world you ever wanted
And right about now your face should wear a smile

Gary Mallaber (from the Moondance album) plays drums on this song and Morrison's then wife, Janet Planet, is one of the back-up vocalists.

Song origins

Morrison has said the song came to him in a stream of consciousness and that he later picked up a newspaper and read an announcement of a mass that was being held in a St. Dominic's churchmarker in San Franciscomarker for peace in Belfastmarker. As he told John Grissim:
I'd been working on this song about the scene going down in Belfast.
And I wasn't sure what I was writing but the central image seemed to be this church called St Dominic's where people were gathering to pray or hear a mass for peace in Northern Ireland.
A few weeks later I was playing at a gig in Reno, Nevada.
I picked up a newspaper, and there in front of me was an announcement about a mass for peace in Belfast to be said the next day at St Dominic's Church in San Francisco.
Totally blew me out.
Like I'd never even heard of a St Dominic's Church.

Appearance on other albums

Personnel on original release


  1. Rogan. No Surrender, p. 274


  • Hinton, Brian (2000). Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison, Sanctuary, ISBN 1-86074169X
  • Rogan, Johnny (2006). Van Morrison: No Surrender, London: Vintage Books ISBN 9780099431831

External links

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