100 Great Songs From The British Invasion: 1963-1966: Gloria- Them. ‘Gloria’- one of the most iconic rock anthems- was never a hit for Them. The song was written by an 18 year old Van Morrison while he was in Germany performing for The Monarchs in 1963. When he returned to Belfast- and formed Them- he began performing the song- and would ad-lib the lyrics- and stretch the song out to 15-20 minutes. For the recording in April 1964- it would clock in at less than 3 minutes. ‘Gloria’ was released in the US as the b-side to ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’- and in 1965 would reach #93 on the Billboard Hot 100. It re-entered the charts in 1966- and peaked at #71. ‘Gloria’ would become a hit though- Shadows Of Knight’s version went to #10 in 1966. It would become one of those songs every garage band would play- and there have been many versions of the song over the years- most notably by The Doors and Patti Smith. Van would record it again in 1993 with one of his musical heroes- John Lee Hooker. Rolling Stone Magazine in 2004 ranked it at #208 in their 500 Greatest Songs Ever list. The Shadows Of Knight and Patti Smith versions would be included in the 500 Songs Which Shaped Rock and Roll- by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dave Marsh in his book The Heart Of Rock And Soul- 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made- ranked it at #69. In 1999 the song received the Grammy Hall Of Fame Award.
Rock critic Paul Williams wrote about the two sides of the “Baby Please Don’t Go/Gloria” recording: “Into the heart of the beast … here is something so good, so pure, that if no other hint of it but this record existed, there would still be such a thing as rock and roll … Van Morrison’s voice a fierce beacon in the darkness, the lighthouse at the end of the world. Resulting in one of the most perfect rock anthems known to humankind.
- Single: ‘Gloria’ Them
- Record Company- Parrot
- Genre: Rock
- Written by Van Morrison
- Time: 2:38
- B side of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’
- Album- The Angry Young Them
- Grade: A+
- Peaked at # 93 in 1965 #71 in 1966 US Billboard Hot 100.