Friday, 28 September 2012

Does Van Owe Fans an Encore?

Van is criticised for everything under the sun. Some days it seems he can do no right.  If that's the case how did he ever achieve his "legend" status?  For hundreds of thousands of the core of loyal fans Van always pleases or is at least interesting.  Here's a post by Molly Glentzer found on the site which angrily reviews a show in Texas in May, 2010.  It seems some people get violently angry if Van doesn't play the "hits". It's as if they feel that since they've paid their admission fee they have a right to have Van perform the songs they expect. Following Molly's initial post are some replies reflecting a wide diversity of opinion.  

Does a legend owe his fans an encore? Or even a hello?

Van the Mumblin’ Man Morrison apparently doesn’t think so. Nor was he compelled to let his audience wallow in nostalgia Saturday night at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands. (The crowd might have been mistaken for the world’s largest 40th high school reunion.)
With a tight six-man band behind him often featured in solos, Morrison conceded just a few chestnuts in a concert that was heavy on newish blues and jazz compositions. It all sounded very Van Morrison-y (a good thing), but the material became repetitious, with few tunes you could lock onto.

Or lyrics, for that matter. Morrison’s singing is pretty much consonant-free these days. If you didn’t know his songs already, you weren’t going to learn the words here.  But age has put some gravel in his voice, which if anything enhances it. And when he scats, well, you don’t mind so much that you paid $50 to sit on the hill, or that you couldn’t buy a beer ($11!) after 7:50 p.m., or that he didn’t take off his Ray Bans.

Among the nods to memory lane: Brown Eyed Girl got the audience giddy early, then not too long afterward came a jazzy arrangement of Moondance. Later came Ballerina, wafting between moodiness and hard-driving. Then there was the long, bluesy-jazzy The Healing Has Begun — which turned out to the be finale. A great song, but ironically it left some in the audience feeling more wounded than healed, since Morrison decided he’d had a night and left the band to finish things off.

The Philosopher’s Stone had great energy, and the cover of Rodney Crowell’s ‘Till I Gain Control Again was soulful, almost plaintive. “This is a country song by Rodney Crowell I recorded a couple of years ago,” he said beforehand.

He may have said “thank you” after one or two songs — and he mumbled something at one point that sounded like “are we having a good time.” Otherwise, he let his music do the talking — with just a few minutes on the piano to start, then strutting his impressive stuff on sax, harmonica and guitar. The harmonica, especially, said plenty.

Oh, yeah. He said, “Give a hand to the band” as he left the stage. But he didn’t introduce them, so we’ll do that here: Jay Berliner, electric guitar; David Hayes, double bass; Bobby Ruggiero, drums; Tony Fitzgibbon (the youngster of the bunch), violin and viola; Richie Buckley, flute and sax; and Paul Moran, grand piano. These guys were terrific.

You have to respect Morrison’s desire to keep his art moving forward. But would a little more gratitude hurt?

Sample Replies
Paul   -   I wasn’t there, but one of the DJs on KPFT this morning had nothing but good things to say about the show. I have heard, though, that you take your chances buying a ticket to see Van, so I’m not surprised at your less enthusiastic review either.
Cindy   -   The WORST concert we’ve ever been to. Spent over $300 bucks for tickets and could not understand 1 word the guy said and what a PRICK!  Would love to get my money back!

Rob Bryan   -   Even if Van was not thrilled to be there, I was thrilled that he played for us. It was billed as an “Evening with Van Morrison”, not the “Astral Weeks Live Tour” from last fall, but I was hoping for Astral Weeks. Even so, the music was great, the band exceptional.  The setlist was odd to say the least, many obscure songs. There were three songs from the 2002 album Down the Road, and two from 2008 Keep it Simple. He did keep it simple, no fuss, no “Hey Houston!” to gain automatic applause.

JayBee   -   My wife and I were at the concert Saturday night; it was our second time in two years to see Van. If he comes back to Houston again, we’ll be there.

We believe Morrison shows more respect for his audience than any other act we’ve seen. We’ve been going to concerts together for over forty years, and have seen more than three dozen members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We’ve seen the Beatles, the Stones (when they were still good), the Who, the Kinks, and countless others.

Maybe he doesn’t interact with the audience, but the 95 minutes he played Saturday night were the equivalent of a two hour concert if you factor out the mindless patter (It’s great to be wherever we are tonight), the pitches for favourite causes (vegetarianism for Chrissy Hynde or the end to land mines for Paul McCartney), and the obligatory ten minutes of begging for the well-planned faux encore.

We only wish that more performers were like Van Morrison. In reality, he appreciates us as much as we appreciate him.

Wavering Hightsbeen angry ever since. I shoulda showed up at this one, but forgot. BTW, it was a freebie back then.

Govchance   -   I attended with my 16 year old son and we both greatly enjoyed the concert, as did everyone around us. But we came strictly for the music. Did not miss people getting up in front of us to make beer and bathroom runs, at all. That being said, I concede that if you are just a casual Morrison fan, you probably did not care for the show. If you are a hard core fan, the show was a gem. I will take hearing Little Village over Brown Eyed Girl any day. He considers the latter a throw-a-way song. Van is a soulman at heart. He plays his music, his way. Never has played to the audience much, and quit playing for money long ago. Like he has so often said, “Its about the music, everything else is BS.”

Mr Blonde   -   Most all of these acts who were big some years ago are just disappointing in their later years. If they don’t sound broken down by age, drugs, alcohol, the road, etc., then they are too jaded by their success to care to put in real work. Many of them who are healthy put out a slick Vegas-lounge, cover-band, non spontaneous sound. Let the past be the past. It can’t be repeated no matter how hard you try. Besides that, the acoustics at Mitchell Pavilion are just bad – there are very few seats that are going to receive any sort of optimal sound.

Nigel Brooks    -   Before you are so quick to criticise Van the Man for his failure to communicate with the audience- do a little research and you’ll discover that he is intensely introverted. Check some of the interviews he has given recently on youtube – and you’ll gain much more insight into why. The Concert was great and I for one thank Van for saving me from the outrageous $12 beers and having to put up with folks who apparently only go to concerts to be seen.

Queen E    -   Attended the “Evening with Van Morrison”. It was indeed a marvellous night for a Moondance Pros: weather was perfect, sound was great Cons: suspending the sale of alcohol 10 min before concert start time, Morrison never addressed the crowd, didn’t play more classic favourites. Come on…how could he not do Tupelo Honey, Mystic, Gloria or Have I Told you Lately??? And to top it all off, no freaking encore!!!! It was a let down. Great music, from a great artist but he really let us down.

BluDog   -   Love how the Van Morrison tour shirts had the year 2009 on them along with last year’s schedule. And people were still buying them!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Is Van Morrison a Jerk?

On Amazon someone calling himself “2 cents” started a “VanMorrison is a jerk?” thread with the following post:

2 cents   -   (No offence to his fans out there). I just came across stuff that truly had me going wtf??
What do you think about "Web Sheriff" I believe it's called and Van Morrison using Web Sheriff to threaten and scare his fans into shutting down their fan websites? According to lawyers that know copyright laws and the web Web Sheriff had no legal right or ability to force websites to close and the websites weren't in violation of copyright laws. To illustrate the point a lawyer said Rolling Stone, which did a story on this, could not use a picture of Van Morrison for the article if Morrison was right. The fans complied and sites were shut down. In any case, what isn't in dispute is Van Morrison wants no unauthorised pictures of him on the internet and bullied his own fans into shutting down tribute sites.

Also, (don’t mean to get gossipy), but, saw a documentary about a former drummer for Bob Dylan Winston Watson who comes across as a real cool guy. He tells a story about how Van Morrison told Dylan that his drummer is no good and should be replaced --right in front of him and loud enough for him to hear it. Then awhile later after no longer touring with Dylan, Watson visited Dylan back stage and there was Van Morrison yet again who, according to Watson, made some rude comment directed apparently at him. Weird.

A number of people replied and I’ve selected a few.  Click on the link above for the full “discussion”.
(Rizzo) Rizzuto   -   Van is a COOL jerk. His music is awesome, and who cares what else he does.

Moon Mist   -    Sinatra was a jerk. Lennon was a jerk. Del Shannon was a jerk. Phil Spector is a jerk. You name the rapper/hip-hopper, he's a jerk. So Van Morrison is a jerk. He's still an angel compared to George Bush or Dick Cheney or Rush Limpballs or Sean Insanity or Bill O'Lielly. At least Morrison and other musicians/entertainers have been jerks without endangering the lives and/or poisoning the minds of millions.

Buck Buckaw   -   Van Morrison has always been a grumpy curmudgeon. It's part of who he is.  As long as I don't have to talk to him, it has absolutely no bearing on how I appreciate him.  Johnny Lydon made a whole career out of hating his fans.
John Stodder   -   If he's a jerk, it doesn't matter to me. I don't have to drive him around or clean his suits. I just get to listen to his music, which is sublime.

bass boy   -   I've heard similar stories about Dylan. Yes, he's talented, but some rock stars just have egos. A friend of mine's brother worked security for Dylan last year and said that everyone in the room was "ordered" to stare at the floor whenever Dylan entered a room, and not look up. If someone did look up and make eye contact with Dylan, they were told in advance not to speak. At all.
Rossputin   -    Absolutely true. Anecdote-- I was at a Van show in around 1976. The crowd was cheering and pumped up. Van stopped in the middle of a song and told the crowd "Shut up, I'm trying to do a show up here". It's all about Van, but I still love his music.

Glen Kepic   -    Kind of a bummer about Van's decision here, but it doesn't surprise me. This is a guy who once fired his whole band after a gig in SF in the 70's. Actually, knowing this little bit of trivia won me a couple of CDs in the 80's (KRQR Hot Lunch, Low Spark... and a sampler CD). I always will like his music, though. Been a fan for along time (Them and beyond).
PHILIP S WOLF   -   The discussion posted here is under the wrong title. Instead of: "Van Morrison is a JERK?"  It was supposed to be entitled: "Van Morrison invented the JERK?"
In November 1964 in a small pub in Squatney, in southwestern Dublin, Van Morrison, did indeed start a dance craze known as: "The JERK" When tipsy on Vodka and too many plates of bangers, Van, tried to get to the stage to perform the fourth set of the evening with his band Them, but after a bit of jerking about he fell into a table of Welshmen on Holiday on the Emerald Isle. After, a small semi-violent incident....Van screamed: "Baby, please don't go!" over and over, crawled to the stage, and history was made.

I don't remember this dance: "The JERK" ever catching on in America {except for a banjo player in Kansas, one: S. Martin} who would go on to a career in comedy, when his bluegrass band with Jerry Garcia, failed to catch fire in the hearts of urban America.
socrates17   -   OK. Not a symptom of jerkitude, but annoying nevertheless. Mid-1968, opening for Quicksilver at the Fillmore East. (I saw both sets because it was, after all, QMS.) In the middle of 1 song Van sang the verse "baby, baby, baby..." 168 times in a row.
Obviously, I didn't count during the first set, but I did count during the second and I came out to 168 exactly.
QMS' set was short enough to begin with and this amazing rendition of fecundity shortened it even further.

Now that I type this, and now that I demonstrate recalling it with such clarity after 40 years, it really begs the question of just who exactly was being the "jerk" here. Sheesh. Oh well.
Steven J. Levenson   -   Asperger's syndrome...look it up!

J. Lyle   -   Yeah, Van is a temperamental ol' SOB. I saw him twice -once in Manhattan on the Pier. It was absolutely one of the finest, most memorable concerts I ever attended. A few years later, at Jones Beach, he didn't like the direction the wind was blowing or something, played about four songs and walked of the stage. Still love most of his music but he's a tough guy to figure out.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Ballerina - What does it all mean?

The Melting Pot is an eclectic music blog that covers a wide range of artists.  The following are extracts from his post  attempting to decode Ballerina. 

What Does It All Mean? Van's Ballerina

 I thought I’d ruminate a moment on one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite albums. The nascent music supervisor in me has always envisioned this song being used near the end of a film when a man sees his wife in her wedding dress for the first time and then played throughout the credits. Something about the way the song opens with the vibes and acoustic guitar and bass that just puts the picture in my mind of a man looking up to see the woman he loves as she comes towards him.
From an album of truly beautiful work, this one continues to take the cake for me even though you never hear it on the radio (even non-commercial radio shies away from the 7 minute running time).  I hear this song and I hear a man that desperately wants a woman to be his, perhaps she’s someone he’s just met, or someone who he used to know who he’s become reacquainted with, but the nature of their relationship seems to make him a bit unsure at various times, such as when he sings “and if somebody, not just anybody, wanted to get close to you…for instance me baby” or “well I maybe wrong, but something in my heart tells me I’m right that I don’t think so.” He also strikes me as a man who feels like he can save this woman, or perhaps she can save him depending on who you think he is describing in the lyrics.
You know I saw the writing on the wall,
When you came up to me,
Child, you were heading for a fall,
But if it gets to you,
And you feel like you just can’t go on,
All you gotta do,
Is ring a bell,
Step right up, and step right up

I’ve never been able to tell here if this is what the singer is telling this woman, or if “when you came up to me,” signifies that the woman is telling the singer, “child, you’re heading for a fall,” Similar themes rise up again later on:

Well it’s getting late,
Yes it is, yes it is,
And this time I forget to slip into your slumber,
The light is on the left side of your head,
And I’m standing in your doorway,
And I’m mumbling and I can’t remember the last thing that ran through my head,
Here come the man and he say, he say the show must go on,
So all you gotta do,
Is ring the bell,
And step right up,
I’ve always loved that line about mumbling and not remembering what’s in your mind. (along with the whole “Grab it, Catch it” verse, which I occasionally still hear as “Grab the ketchup” which really confuses the hell out of me with the whole “Sigh it, Die It” later…) Love can have that kind of powerful effect on you when you meet the person that’s right for you. But I like how the singer regains his senses and when the “show must go on” he’s able to give the advice that serves as the chorus, to get up and keep on moving.  I’ve never read anything directly from Morrison on the exact inspiration behind Ballerina. Strangely a number of people seem to be convinced that this song is about a prostitute, perhaps because of some of the other somewhat shady characters that populate Astral Weeks (especially thinking of “Madame George”), but there’s nothing in the lyrics that give me that sense at all. The song’s lyrical narrative seems to tell double stories, one about this new found rush of love the singer feels and another that seems to be related to either the struggles of the singer or of the woman he loves as they attempt to “keep a-moving on, little bit higher” through their life. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Burning Ground and Sales

Van Morrison is an inspiration in many fields.  The following post has Tim Roberts a sales motivator using Van to “clear the head trash” as a way to improving people as salespeople. 

Dump the Jute!
By Tim Roberts

Dump the jute, man, on the burning ground.

Van Morrison serves that to us in a song called The Burning Ground. I’m rarely sure what he’s singing but you can count on whatever it is to be unique. I dig that. All hip cats dig that.

The Burning Ground is arguably one of Van Morrison’s most intense forays into personal and spiritual allegory. More importantly, it’s just a dang good tune. Within it, though, is a message that makes me think of the plight of so many unknowing salespeople:  the challenge of head trash.

Head trash is a messy thing to be sure. Sales head trash, however, costs you money. Flat out, throw-it-away money. Drench it and turn on the disposal. Drive to the bridge and open the window. Go to the range and yell, “Pull!”.

Sales head trash is the stuff that tricks you into believing that “think-it-over” is an exciting, good thing–full of hope. Sales head trash is that little message rooted deeply by mom and dad that says, “It’s not polite to talk about money” or “He’s a busy executive, don’t waste his time.” It’s starting every day with a well-pounded mantra that echoes, “You’re not that good, you never win the big one.” It’s looking in the mirror and seeing a seven instead of a ten.

Doesn’t that hurt, man? Day after day, man?

Head trash like this can be eliminated. That’s the job of any good trainer–to take out the trash. Head trash is jute, man. Dump the jute…on the burning ground.

Tim Roberts is a principal at Trustpointe, Inc, a Sandler Training franchise in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Van Rips Off Yeats

The writer of the semi-charged kinda blog. claims Van "rips off" Yeats.  Not just that he was influenced by Yeats' themes, ideas or anything else.  Van apparently, 'rips off' the great Irish poet. His post is full of rising excitement as he (in his mind) lays a skillful trap for the great man with his wonderfully constructed body of evidence. (YAWN).  He even utters a well-worn "busted" and even "gotcha" as he supposedly lines up irrefutable evidence that it was Yeats who first wrote Gloria and had his own garage band.  (just kidding).  The article is annoyingly like something Clinton Heylin would write.  How many more people are out there who bristle at Van's success and want to "take him down"? 

But at least for the Van fan the writer gives some hints about the sources of Van's lyric ideas.    

Into the Mystic 

"Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic"*
Van Morrison has a total man crush on William Butler Yeats. He'll deny it, mind you, but his music tells another tale entirely. Here's Morrison's own half-hearted attempt to distance himself from Ben Bulben's poet laureate, excerpted from an old Rolling Stone article:
"Critics would listen to my songs and say 'this is sort of Yeatsian,’ and I’d go ‘Really? I didn’t know. I’d never read him.’ So I’d go out and get Yeats and see, but I hadn’t read him before the article.

(Ring ring... Um, Mr. Morrison? I have your bluff on line one.)
Gee, that's strange. For a guy who knows nothing about Yeats' writings, Van The Man "conveniently" found himself cribbing a boatload of the guy's material. Heck, just look at these Van Morrison record titles:  Astral Weeks (1968),  Moondance (1970), Beautiful Vision (1982),  Cuchulain (2001) and Magic Time (2005).

And then check out these Yeats writings from a full half-century prior:

•A Vision -- which deals extensively with which Yeats calls "astral" -- or star-like -- matters (1925)

•"The Phases of the Moon" (1919)

•Cuchulain's Fight with the Sea (1925)

•"Magic: An Essay" (1903)

But why stop there? Here's a verse from Morrison's 1983 song, Rave On, John Donne in which the songwriter comes mighty close to flat-out asking "that-guy-I-swear-I-never-read!" out on a man-date. Take a look:

"Rave on, let a man come out of Ireland
Rave on, on Mr. Yeats,
Rave on down through the Holy Rosey Cross

Rave on down through theosophy, and the Golden Dawn
Rave on through the writing of 'A Vision'

Rave on, Rave on, Rave on, Rave on, Rave on, Rave on"

Oooh SNAP!

Yeah, you know what you did.

Ok, it's settled: Van Morrison pretty much made a career as a wholesale ripoff of his countryman and poetic forbear. But Morrison's BIGGEST Yeats ripoff of all time? None other than the songwriter’s classic 1970 hit Into The Mystic.

As Morrison begins his 1970 track, he sets the stage for a song that takes place in a liminal threshold between two realms, singing:

“We were born before the wind / Also younger than the sun”
Just a simple throwaway line, right? Not on your life. We already know that Van Morrison is certainly not above cribbing from Yeats' source material. So let's see how these lines fit into the Yeats canon:

Into the Mystic tells the story of two lovers who were born “before the wind" but "also younger than the sun." Conveniently (read: plagiarist-ically?) these two symbols also just so happen to rather neatly coincide with two actual events in the life of one W.B. Yeats.

First up: "born before the wind" -- in 1899, Yeats put himself on the map of literary giants with the publication of a collection of poems titled The Wind Among The Reeds. What were the poems about, you ask? Why what else besides all sorts of crazy and other-worldly themes like mist, mysticism, and matters of the occult.
(Hey wait a second here...)

Next up: "younger than the sun" -- true story: Yeats was obsessed with an impressive array of fringe religious sects in his lifetime (heh heh, "sects") -- the most noteworthy of which just so happened to be a quasi-cult known as The Order of The Golden Dawn. The group's philosophy? A full-tilt focus on worshipping (wait for it) the SUN, and a pretty clear-cut obsession with the unending circle of birth and death.
("Born before the..." ooooh, gotcha.)

How fitting that a song about going Into the Mystic is set smack-dab "before the wind" and "the sun," eh?
In the lines that follow, Morrison takes his Yeats influence a step further by lifting entire lines directly from Yeats' poetry (the NERVE of that guy!). Case in point: check out Yeats’ “Crazy Jane and the Bishop,” where the poet's heroine talks about how she dreams of a day when she can “wander out into the night.” And then Yeats' very next poem in the sequence (“Crazy Jane Reproved”), where as a blustery Bishop shoots Jane down, saying “I care not what the sailors say."

But in Into the Mystic, Van turns the tables --

"Hark, now hear the sailors’ cry!
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly
Into the mystic"
Hey! That almost sounds like Van put Yeats' thing down, flipped it, and reversed it.

Actually, the whole "flip it and reverse it" trick is a move stolen from right of Yeats' playbook, too -- since the man spent pages and pages of his life's work all but consumed by the image of the twisting gyres. Since Yeats' was something of a nut job, however, his philosophy on the matter can get a bit convoluted.  In Yeats' estimation, gyres were the ultimate symbol of an interpenetrating universe. He loved the notion of sunsets, twilights, sunrises, moon rises, and foggy periods of uncertainty where one realm gradually gave way to the next. To that end, a huge chunk of his poetry and philosophical writings were dedicated precisely to these "mystic" portals between two realms where fantasy and reality collided and anything was possible.

As Yeats saw things: with all of this liminal fluctuation twisting and unfolding around us, nobody can ever really quite tell you for sure if they are actually sleeping or awake in a given moment. Really, all we're doing is floating "into the mystic."

For Yeats, this was the stuff that dreams (and poems) were made of.
You might even call it Magic Time.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Van Morrison Soup

Van inspires fans in increasingly weird and wacky ways.  Betzking from the Betz-Blog is inspired by Van to make soup.  Read about it from a cut down version of one of her postings. 

The Sunday Soup Hobby

Late afternoon found me at the cutting board, dicing carrots and listing to music. It was time to make the weekly “Sunday soup”, a staple in our house because we get home so late on most week-nights. Warming up a bowl of soup is the fastest way to the couch, dog, cat, spouse and silly pyjamas, but my previous career as a cook left me a soup-snob. Hence, home made soups or no soups at all.

Sometimes I make a pot of soup while listening to a particular artist. “Van Morrison soup” is a particular favourite (but not the stuff you hear on the radio, it has to be his more esoteric spiritual stuff). Seems like the angst-ridden musicians produce the best soup – something about how the minor chords and existential lyrics infuse the chopping and sauteing.  I often think it counts as a meditation. A consistently sized dice – whether carrots or celery or onions – is a precise work. The feel of the knife as it rocks back and forth, the rhythmic beat of the chopping against the background of music and bubbling broth, these never fail to plant me firmly in the hallowed-here-and-now. There is a Zen saying, “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” It is speaking of the place where “every day” and “holy” overlap. I chop vegetables and carry broth every Sunday. “Every day” and “holy” overlap in a big old pot, and our bodies and spirits are fed from the contents. Plus it makes the house smell great for the whole week.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Who sang "Gloria" besides Laura Branigan?

When I first read this question on the answerbag site I chuckled to myself, not the notorious "LOL" that people always claim to be doing while sitting at their computers. I thought "You've got to be kidding?"  But as I read through the answers I realised once again that life always presents an opportunity for learning.  Here are some of the posts regarding that question. 

Who sang the song "GLORIA" besides Laura Branigan?

Perryman   -   Gloria is a rock song written by Van Morrison and originally recorded by Morrison's band Them in 1964.  It was covered later by the Doors, and even later by Patti Smith (She rewrote the lyrics).

Lady Fuschia   -   Hell yeah, gotta love Patti Smith.  I really appreciate how she wasn't afraid to 'Gender-bend' a little by doing a cover of it.

Mr. Meaulnes   -   She did this wonderful quote about it I wish I could remember - about how an artist should be beyond everything (including gender boundaries) but the responsibility to create something of worth.  Smith's version was a major reworking of Van Morrison's that basically only retained the chorus. Branigan's was a different song entirely; it had nothing to do with either.

Lady Fuchsia    -   I think Hendrix did it too.

Factotum   -   Gloria was also sung by the group "Enchantment" in the 1970's.

Galeanda   -   ALL the Glorias:  " is the title of many different songs, both in contemporary popular music as well as classical music of the sacred Christian genre.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo is the liturgical theme; Handel, Haydn, and Mendelssohn are among the composers who wrote the most popular and enduring interpretations of it during the classical era.

Songs titled Gloria include:

* Gloria (Van Morrison song), the most often-cited song of this title composed in the rock era, written by Van Morrison and originally recorded by Them in 1964. Many covers of this song have been performed and recorded by various artists.

* Gloria, the Jazz version, recorded by The Manhattan Transfer on their debut album The Manhattan Transfer in 1975.

* Gloria, by the Italian composer and musician Umberto Tozzi, in 1979.

* Gloria (Laura Branigan song), a cover of Tozzi's song with a different lyric and the most successful single recording of a song with the title "Gloria", released by Laura Branigan in 1982.

* Gloria (U2 song), by U2, from their 1981 album October, that incorporated some of Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

* Gloria (doo-wop song), a famous doo-wop song written by Leon René in the 1940s and later revised by Esther Navarro.

* Gloria, by indie/emo band Mineral, from their first album, The Power Of Failing.
Merfish   -   There also seems to be a German metal band Disillusion with a song also called Gloria.
Ed the Jetpacking Headbanger   -   U2 had a song titled Gloria from 1981.
jbrown8116   -   An Italian singer Umberto Tozzi has an excellent version of the song.
superbird   -   I don't know about the Van Morrison comment, but in the 60's "Gloria" G-L-O-R-I-A was recorded by The Shadows of Knight, a local band from Arlington Heights IL.
Wserratore   -   Umberto Tozzi recorded it in 1979 in Italy.
rdini   -   The Cadillacs sang the Doo Wop Gloria.
65gradgiate   -   The original popular big rock hit song was out in the mid-sixties, and it was by The Shadows of Knight - a really great dance song. Or was it by Emilio Palatso?

Tom Fuhl-Ray   -   I'd think the original poster was asking for other versions of the same Gloria that Laura Branigan sang but there's only been one mentioned - the original Italian version by Umberto Tozzi. The first recording in English was by Jonathan King (the lyrics aren't related to the Branigan version). Following Branigan's success with the song French singer Sheila B remade the song with French lyrics. It's also reported that Umberto Tozzi re-recorded his song with the English lyrics from the Branigan hit. For years the only other version of Gloria with the lyrics as recorded by Branigan would seem to be a virtual replication by English vocalist Elkie Brooks probably recorded at the time the Branigan version hit the US charts (1982) with the intent of giving Brooks a UK hit (as had happened with Brooks' cover of Melissa Manchester's US hit Don't Cry Out Loud).
Perhaps the expediency of the release of Branigan's Gloria in the UK - it reached no#6 there in early '83 - killed the release of Brooks' version which was unreleased until 1986 ironically on the Very Best of Elkie Brooks album. In 2006 the group Young Divas which comprises four female Australian Idol finalists remade the Laura Branigan hit Gloria for their self-titled album which is virtually all remakes of high energy classics.