Madame George - Who was she?

Just bought a cd of Astral Weeks for £2.55 inc postage which seems a bargain. Playing a favourite (and apparently Van Morrison’s favourite track) I wondered who Madame George might be. VM says it not necessarily about a drag queen (‘playing dominoes in drag’) and there are other characters in the song. One theory is that Madam George is based on the wife of WB Yeats - the mystic poet that inspired and was copied by the mystic songwriter himself. Georgie Hyde-Lees who Yeats renamed ‘George’. He was inspired by her automatic writing and used her words in his poems. Madame is often used for a medium and VM’s line ‘When you fall into a trance’ seems to fit. Of course the song is about a lot of things. Anyway, great song and great album and probably my view is a load of cobblers!

According to Van:
“It’s like a movie, a sketch, or a short story. In fact, most of the songs on Astral Weeks are like short stories. In terms of what they mean, they’re as baffling to me as to anyone else. I haven’t got a clue what that song is about or who Madame George might have been.”[3]

Seem to recall from somewhere - when people used to just know these things - the original title was Madame Joy.

He sings ‘Joy’. I think he said the first title was Madam Joy. Who knows why he changed the title. Into the Mystic?

Yes it will probably remain a mystery. Not that it really matters anyway.

Another reference here in the song “Black Boys on Mopeds” from the wonderful Sinéad O’Connor.

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