Who Sang It Best? by Rich Paschall
Last weekend we told you about A Popular Girl who has many songs written about her. This is not the Gloria you are singing in church. This is a someone that many songwriters have encountered over the years. Today we are picking just one of the songs and asking you to chose the best version.
In 1964 singer-songwriter Van Morrison’s group, Them, recorded a song about Gloria as the B side of the blues standard, “Baby, Please Don’t Go.” Failure of some rock radio stations to play the Van Morrison version of Gloria due to objection of one line (“She comes to my room”), meant the song did not climb very high on the Billboard Hot 100: 93 in 1965, 71 in 1966.
In December 1965 The Shadows of Knight, a Chicago area band, released their cover of Gloria and the song made it to number 10 in 1966. It was helped by rock radio giant Chicago’s WLS 890 AM. The band changed the offending lyric to “She calls out my name” and some stations found it a better alternative to the original. It is the version I remember best.
The Doors covered the song a number of times in concert and versions can be found on live albums. In the following lead singer Jim Morrison just seems to be making up a lot of it as they went along, which he probably was.
Scottish rock band Simple Minds put there own spin on the song, released in 2001.
There are a long list of artists who have performed and/or recorded this song, but I will just give you my vote for Chicago’s own, The Shadows of Knight.
Just because it is floating around the internet, we will also give you Bill Murray. No, he will not win any competition with this version. It is just for fun.
See also, “A Popular Girl”