Views & Reviews Medical Classics

TB Sheets

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 16 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4812
  1. Wendy Moore, freelance writer and author, London
  1. wendymoore{at}

Nobody, perhaps, has ever captured the grief, anger, and guilt intermingled in witnessing a loved one die quite as honestly and viscerally as Van Morrison does in his iconic blues track “TB Sheets.”

Ever since it was recorded in a New York studio in 1967, Morrison’s 10 minute song about the death of a girlfriend from tuberculosis has generated rumour and myth. Sources variously claim that the song was prompted by the death of Morrison’s girlfriend from a brain haemorrhage, or his cousin—the “Gloria” of the hit single—from cancer, or an unnamed school friend from TB. Notoriously …

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