(Before you read this, I’m aware that I might technically be cheating as “Gloria” was recorded in 1964, and released as the B-side of “Baby Please Don’t Go“. However, it gained popularity when it rereleased in 1965 as an A-side, thus making it a song of 1965.)
“Satisfaction” and “You Really Got Me”, “Louie, Louie” be damned, “Gloria” is the ultimate garage anthem. The song is propelled by a distinctive three-chord riff that accentuates the ode to sex and lust. Throughout the first verse, most of the tension is built upon Morrison’s growling Howlin’ Wolf imitation.
In “Gloria” isn’t just telling you that he got laid, but rather is sticking it to you about how good it was. “Like to tell you about my baby,” he declares at the beginning of the song, as if you actually asked. “She make me feel so good, she make me feel alright,” is the kind of line where you tell the person to shut – that they’ve given away too much information. Who wants to hear the details of sex? When Morrison first spells out Gloria’s name – it seems like a kind of joke. But when he blows through it the second time – there’s a menace and lust. It’s as if by shouting her name, he’s taken possession of her. By publicly declaring her name in the streets, she is his. Later she appears at his door – and she makes him feel alright again.
Van Morrison Performing “Gloria”:
“Gloria” has been covered many artists, and it has become a concert staple for many groups because of its sing-a-long chorus. Patti Smith completely rearranged the song – transforming it into a punk anthem. U2 frequently performed ‘”Gloria” (not to be confused with their own completely different song “Gloria”) at the tail end of their song “Exit” during the Joshua Tree tour.
And then of course there’s Bruce Springsteen cover “Gloria” with the best-bar in the world: