Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Gloria (Them)

Written by Van Morrison and first recorded by Them (1964).
Hit versions by Them (US #93/UK #10 1965), The Shadows of Knight (US #10 1966), Van Morrison & John Lee Hooker (UK #31 1993).

From the wiki: “Van Morrison said that he wrote ‘Gloria’ while he performed with the Monarchs in Germany in the summer of 1963. He started to perform it at the Maritime Hotel when he returned to Belfast and joined up with The Gamblers to form the band Them. He would ad-lib lyrics as he performed, sometimes stretching the song to fifteen or twenty minutes. After signing a contract with Dick Rowe and Decca, Them went to London for a recording session at Decca Three Studios in West Hampstead on 5 July 1964.

“Gloria was the B-side to ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ and was released in the U.K. on 6 November 1964. The original recording charted at #10 in early 1965 in the UK mostly due to the popularity of ‘Gloria’.

“A performance by The Shadows of Knight in support of The Byrds at Chicago’s McCormick Place in early summer 1965 attracted the attention of Dunwich Records. During that show, they performed ‘Gloria’ and, after Dunhill signed the band, the group recorded ‘Gloria’ as its first effort.

“Released in December 1965, the Knight version of ‘Gloria’ received massive regional airplay. The band had slightly altered the song’s lyrics, replacing Morrison’s original ‘she comes to my room, then she made me feel alright’ with ‘she called out my name, that made me feel alright’ after influential Chicago station WLS had banned Them’s original version. This simple change overcame the prevalent AM radio censorship of the era, and got The Shadows of Knight’s cover version of the song onto the playlist of WLS. The single reached the #1 position on the WLS countdown, as well as on local rival WCFL. On the Billboard national charts, ‘Gloria’ rose to #10. The secondary publication Cashbox ranked ‘Gloria’ as high as #7.”

The Shadows of Knight, “Gloria” (1966):

John Lee Hooker & Van Morrison, “Gloria” (1993):

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