Tuesday, 17 March 2009

"Gloria" by Them

Okay, I am neither Catholic nor Irish, so I do not observe St. Patrick's Day, but I know that there are many who do. So for their enjoyment and in honour of the Emerald Isle, I thought I would post a song written and performed by Irishmen. That song is "Gloria" and the Irishmen are Van Morrison's band Them.

Van Morrison wrote "Gloria" in 1963 while he was still with The Monarchs, performing in Germany. Returning to Belfast, Ireland, Morrison formed the band Them in 1964. "Gloria" was among the first seven songs recorded in their first session in the studio. It is historic as the very first rock song to actually use two drummers on one recording. Despite this fact and the fact that it would become one of the most legendary rock songs of all time, it would originally see the light of day only as the B-side of the single "Baby, Please Don't Go (Them's cover of the Big Joe Williams song)."

While it was only released as a B-side, "Gloria" soon caught on. American garage band The Gants covered it in November 1965. A month later it was covered by Chicago band The Shadows of Knight. It became the biggest hit of The Shadows of Knight's career and perhaps the most successful version of "Gloria" on the American charts--it went to number 10 on the Billboard singles chart. "Gloria" would later be covered by everyone from Patti Smith to U2.

Here, courtesy of YouTube, is "Gloria" by Them.

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