No, this Gloria

I am shocked — people mistook my reference to “Gloria” in the last post for some cheesy 80s dreck, instead of one of the greatest rock songs of all time. So here, for those who are confused, here’s an education:

Laura Branigan? Girlfriend, please.


  1. Janine ID says

    Jesus died for somebody’s sins
    …but not mine!

    Simply one of the greatest songs and albums ever.

  2. Clemens says

    Wow, didn’t know that “dreck” was a germanizism too. But it’s the appropriate word for the 80s :D

  3. captain howdy says

    Good song. Real good song. But not even close to her best.

    Patti Smith’s best song–in fact, the best rock song ever written, IMHO–is her masterpiece Pissing In A River.

  4. Cynic says

    Hi PZ,
    Sorry if I’m hopelessly behind the times, but you’re coming by Denver sometime soon, right? Do you have dates and venue available, or have you already come and gone?

    Nice song, by the way.

  5. Peter Jackson says

    Expected to see Van Morrison and Them when the video came up… Perhaps I’m a bit older than you?

  6. says

    I was never much of a Patti Smith fan, and hadn’t heard her version before today. I’ve always liked the Doors version:

    or, better yet, the Hendrix version:


  7. the PC apeman says

    Laura Branigan? Girlfriend, please.

    Ha! For a moment there I thought I was still reading Andrew Sullivan’s blog. You go, PZ!

  8. chris says

    Gotta cast my vote for Branigan. And I had no idea that she had passed in 2004 until earlier this year.

  9. catta says

    Thanks for posting the link to the Doors version, The502. Patti Smith nearly ruined it for me. (Er… no offense, PZ!)

  10. LisaJ says

    ha! Thanks for clarifying this PZ. I will admit that I was not thinking of the correct version of ‘Gloria’ :) An unfortunate consequence of growing up in the 80s. Although I was pretty sure that that corny 80s song could not have been performed by Patti Smith.

    Great song! Hopefully this version will replace that other hideous Gloria song that’s been playing in my head for the past few hours.

  11. James F says

    I knew exactly which “Gloria” you meant, PZ, but I’m also a fan of the Laura Branigan song, and plenty of 80s tunes. RIP Laura….

  12. bill r says

    There is only one Gloria, and it was written in the mid-60’s. None of this moaning stuff. Exhuberent dance music when you’re a teenager. Great stuff.

    Get off of my lawn!

  13. nicknick bobick says

    Them’s version from ca 1965 is definitive. Doors and Hendrix good… Smith – maybe not so. Morrison has recorded several times since 65 and,like Dylan with his songs, changes it up each time. Any fans of mid-60s rock should also check out Them’s “Mystic Eyes” and their version of “Baby Please Don’t Go”. Rock!

  14. Lago says

    Did you really need to show a Picture of Patti Smith?

    Now I can’t stop the urge to shave my cat, and trust me, my cat isn’t happy about this at all either.

  15. Danio says

    Laura Branigan? Girlfriend, please.

    A thousand apologies, Holmes.

    I should have known you were far too cool…or perhaps just ever so slightly too old…to have been sucked into the 80’s pop vortex.

    Ah well, post in haste, repent in leisure.

  16. Jud says

    No one can surpass The Greatest Singing Statue of All Time, Van the Man Morrison. (He actually does move now and have facial expressions when he sings, though not much. Time was he didn’t – at *all*.)

    I’m happier with Patti’s coauthorship (with Springsteen) of Because the Night (Love is an angel disguised as Lust, Here in our bed until the morning comes – now *there’s* a lyric), and her performance of two songs from the album Wave: a cover of the Byrds’ “So You Wanna Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” and “Dancing Barefoot.”

  17. says

    Patti Smith? I rememeber her as one of those performers whose voice sounded like somebody’s cat had gotten its tail caught in a door. And her picture in her WikiPedia article looks like a young Mick Jagger ( ).

    Meanwhile, as Rome is merrily burning and you guys are fiddling around: Condy Rice has said today that there aren’t enough blacks in the State Department ( ).

    Guess how many blacks work for Alaskan Reichsfuhrer Sarah Palin’s State government?

  18. Trish says

    Girlfriends .. boyfriends .. please.

    I’m still stuck on the Cadillacs’ Gloria of what, 1955? And I’m only 38. I win I win. I want a cookie.

    Not to mention that song is like a reel in my head now.

  19. Joel Grant says

    There are plenty of great pop tunes and plenty of great pop artists but why this artist and this tune appeal to so many people is a mystery. I do hope she was not being strangled by a squid during the recording session, for her sake and for the squid’s.

  20. Quiet Desperation says

    Sorry, but worst Doors song ever.

    The best is, of course, The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat).

    Out here in the perimeter, there are no stars.

  21. Epikt says


    Did you really need to show a Picture of Patti Smith?
    Now I can’t stop the urge to shave my cat

    Which end?

  22. says

    I knew someone was going to drag The Doors into this rather quickly.

    And I must say: way to go! I like both Morrisons, but have always been more partial to Jim. (bonus fact: The Doors & Them played “Gloria” together once at the Whisky-A-Go-Go, click my name to see a picture)

    I really dig the Doors’ version, although the recording that was released as a single is heavily edited. The Doors were recording a rehearsal at a venue and did a rather raunchy take of the song, most of which got cut out.

  23. says

    As far as Laura Branigan is concerned, an artist who died much too young, her Self Control has always impressed me with its nightmarish quality. (And it affected me that way long before I saw the video, which makes things explicitly surreal. [“Explicitly surreal”?])

    Self Control

  24. bybelknap, FCD says

    Ms Smith has (sort of) recently put out an album (CD, whatever) of 12 covers, called “12.” It is among the best cover albums of all time (he said quite boldly). When I first read some of the titles I had the tilted dog head confused look – The Boy in the Bubble? huh? It WORKS, mate. Buy it. Buy it RIGHT NOW. Seriously.

  25. Mike says

    My band opened for Laura Branigan at a Special Olympics event back in the mid-90’s. She just sang karaoke to background tracks, but it was fun to meet her. A very nice lady. RIP.

  26. Mena says

    I’m sorry but Patti Smith and The Doors are a couple of things that we younger boomers don’t understand about the older boomers. There are plenty more but those two just stand out.

  27. mayhempix says

    The first song I ever learned to sing and play on the guitar was Them’s version of Gloria.

    Coincidently, my uncle was the bass player on the LA Woman album by the Doors. His playing was so much a part of the sound of that record, they asked to be the 5th Door… and then Morrison bit the big one in Paris just before the tour was set to start.

  28. GrayGaffer says

    The Them’s version (Van Morrison) ushered in my transition from pimply teenager to suave man-about-town. Well, broke the ice with the girls for me, at least. In 1965. Played constantly from the juke box in the forward coffee bar on the converted troop ship carrying me and about 1000 other high school seniors around the Mediterranean for two weeks that unforgettable summer. So that remains to this day the definitive version of G:L:O:R:I:A. For me. No substitute fro the raw energy of the times. Patti’s version is OK, I guess, but the song is raw sex, no about about it, and only the original gets the mood.

  29. bric says

    Way back in 1976, when I was recovering from an appendectomy, my then Significant Other bought me the Horses album; it played more or less continually for the next few weeks. The link is ‘Horses’ from the Old Grey Whistle Test, a Great British Institution of the 70s.

  30. says

    I’m old enough to remember that as a great Van Morrison song, which I still enjoy listening to.

    But Patti Smith transformed it into something (even more) wonderful.

    How did Van end up duetting a hymn with rocker-turned-evangelist Cliff “I’m not gay but my boyfriend is” Richard? All those years in Kilburn must have done something to him.

  31. Jud says

    mena wrote: I’m sorry but Patti Smith and The Doors are a couple of things that we younger boomers don’t understand about the older boomers. There are plenty more but those two just stand out.

    Re The Doors, here’s a quote from Rolling Stone magazine’s last Jim Morrison cover: “He’s Hot! He’s Sexy! He’s Dead!” That is All Ye Need to Know.

  32. Dior says

    Am I the only one who remembers this song sung by Jonny Lee Hooker? That was the best version EVER!

  33. A. Wolgemuth says

    I’m too young to remember this “Gloria” (though I recall the Laura Branigan version just fine.) But now that I hear it, I finally understand (and agree with) the words of humorist Dave Barry, who wrote: “You can throw a guitar off a cliff,
    and as it bounces off rocks on the way down, it will, all by itself, play Gloria.”

  34. Sarcastro says

    I’m still stuck on the Cadillacs’ Gloria of what, 1955? And I’m only 38. I win I win. I want a cookie.

    If we’re talking about other songs named Gloria, I’ll take Vivaldi’s 1724 version for the cookie. Unless the 2nd century liturgical Gloria in Excelsis Deo counts.

  35. kim boone says

    This song is amazing!

    I was born in ’81, and when I read the previous post I immediately thought of Patti Smith (duh, she’s mentioned in the post), Them with Van the Man, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. In that order.
    Ah, the joyous day when I was sixteen and took control over my father’s vinyl-collection. Man, did my ears and mind open up…
    Btw, my favorite Patti song has to be “Rock ‘n Roll Nigger”, with the long spoken word intro “Babelogue”. Goosebumps every single time.

  36. Sven DiMilo says

    I saw the Dead do Gloria as an encore once in the mid-80s…Irvine?
    I also saw Patti Smith perform once, in about 1980 in Birmingham, Alabama. The locals seemed to think that wearing a Yankees cap made them “punk,” although I remember some skinny ties as well. When they kept playing past 1 am, Birmingham police literally dragged her off stage making screechy noises on a clarinet. Daze of yore.

  37. says

    Okay someone here’s already mentioned Van Morrison (originally created when he was with the band “Them” in the 60s), but how come no one has mentioned the early song from U2 (back from when they were, y’know, actually a good band).

    I reckon bands should stop making their own videos and just use Final Fantasy and videogame clips. It clearly works much much better that way. Here it is “Gloria” from U2

  38. nicknick bobick says

    Dior @ #47 – JOHN Lee Hooker, not “Jonny”.

    Can you provide a source? I know that John Lee did Gloria with Van on the albums (live I think) “Too long in exile” (1993) and “A night in San Francisco” (1994), but am not aware off him doing a solo.

  39. mayhempix says

    @Kyle W. #55

    Yes he is.

    Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and many more plus numerous hit records and film scores.