Here is a video for one of my favourite cover songs by The Doors, Gloria! The Doors (recorded between 1968 and 1970 in concert performance and released on Alive, She Cried (1983), . Number 18 on Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and number 71 on Billboard Hot 100 in 1983. A studio version can be found on the The Very Best of The Doors compilation album.
The original “Gloria” was wrote by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and originally recorded by Morrison’s band Them in 1964 as the B-side of “Baby, Please Don’t Go”. The song became a garage rock staple and a part of many rock bands’ repertoires. It is particularly memorable for its “G–L–O–R–I–A” chorus. It is easy to play (three-chord) and thus is popular with those learning to play guitar. The song continues to be played by thousands of bands from famous recording artists to unknown garage bands. Humourist Dave Barry joked that “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.”
The beauty of the original is that Van Morrison needs only to speak-sing, in his Howlin’ Wolf growl, “I watch her come up to my house/She knocks upon my door/And then she comes up to my room/I want to say she makes me feel all right/G-L-O-R-I-A!” to convey his teenage lust. The original Latin meaning of the name is not lost on Morrison. Them never varies from the three chords, utilizing only dynamic changes to heighten the tension.
“Gloria” was rated number 69 on Dave Marsh’s list in the 1989 book The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. He described the song as “one of the few rock songs that’s actually as raunchy as its reputation.” In his book Rock and Roll: The 100 Best Singles, Paul Williams said 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.”