By Christopher Scapelliti
For decades, “Gloria” has been the first song many guitarists ever learn, a three-chord garage-rock anthem that anyone can learn and play quickly.
The song was cut by many groups—including the Shadows of Knight, who had a Number 10 hit with it in 1966—but the song originated with Them, Van Morrison’s band, which wrote and recorded it in 1964.
Now a new box set, The Complete Them 1964–1967, is collecting the group’s catalog, including a previously unreleased demo of “Gloria,” which you can hear below. This version is raw and slower than the single version and sounds somewhat cleaner than the released take.
Despite the song’s popularity and long-lasting fame, Morrison wasn’t thrilled with it. “It was capitalized on a lot by other people, especially a lot of American groups, whereas I didn’t really capitalize on it all that much,” he noted. In fact, Morrison rarely performed the song until the mid Seventies. It has since become one of his most frequently performed cuts
The Complete Theme will be released on December 4 and includes the album’s The Angry Young Them and Them Again. It features a disc of 24 rarities, all but four of which have previously been released.