|Single by Them|
|A-side||" Baby, Please Don't Go"|
|Released||2 December 1964|
|Recorded||8 April 1964|
|Studio||Decca Three, West Hampstead, UK|
|Them singles chronology|
"Gloria" is a rock song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, and originally recorded by Morrison's band Them in 1964. It was released 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. 
According to Morrison, he wrote "Gloria" while performing with the Monarchs in Germany in the summer of 1963, at just about the time he turned 18 years old.  He started to perform it at the Maritime Hotel when he returned to Belfast and joined up with the Gamblers to form the band Them. He would ad-lib lyrics as he performed, sometimes stretching the song to 15 or 20 minutes. After signing a contract with Dick Rowe and Decca, Them went to London for a recording session at Decca Three Studios in West Hampstead on 5 April 1964; "Gloria" was one of the seven songs recorded that day.
Besides Morrison, present were Billy Harrison on guitar, Alan Henderson on bass guitar, Ronnie Millings on drums and Pat McCauley on keyboards. Rowe brought in session musicians Arthur Greenslade on organ and Bobby Graham on drums, since he considered the Them members too inexperienced. There remains some dispute about whether Millings and McCauley were actually miked, but Alan Henderson contends that Them constituted the first rock group to use two drummers on a recording.  Although some sources claim that Jimmy Page played second guitar, other sources deny this.  
Decca Records released "Gloria" as the B-side of " Baby, Please Don't Go" in the UK on 6 November 1964, with only the latter reaching the singles chart. In the US, the same pairing was released by Parrot Records, which became a regional hit on the US West Coast.  Between March and June 1965, the single (both songs) appeared on weekly Top 40 playlists for Los Angeles radio station KRLA, reaching number one for three weeks in April.    A year later, after the release of a cover version of "Gloria" by the Shadows of Knight, Them's original entered the national Billboard Hot 100 chart. Both peaked during the week of 14 May 1966, with Them at number 75 and the Shadows of Knight at number 10.  Cash Box described it as "a bluesy, up tempo stomp'er devoted to 'Gloria'". 
"Gloria" was added to Them's first UK album The Angry Young Them (1965), which was re-titled with some different tracks as Them in the US.  The song also appears on several compilations, including The Story of Them Featuring Van Morrison (1997) and The Best of Van Morrison (1990). 
One explanation for the timeless popularity of the song was offered in AllMusic's review by Bill Janovitz: 
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, using 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." 
In 1999, "Gloria" by Them received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award.  In 2000, "Gloria" by Them was listed as number 81 on VH1's list of The 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time.  In 2004, "Gloria" by Them was ranked No. 208 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, moving down to No. 211 in the 2010 updated list,  and 413 in the 2021 list.  Patti Smith's version was ranked at number 97 on the 2021 list.  "Gloria" was also included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll twice: by Patti Smith and by Shadows of Knight.