Morning Song – Gloria
When Patti Smith went to record her first album, she’d already packed more living into the previous decade of her life than most of us do in a lifetime; and it all came pouring out with, “Gloria”, one of the great #FirstSideFirstSong’s in rock history, and the “grab-you-by-the-throat-and-look-you-in-the-eye” opening to one of the most influential punk albums (and careers) ever.
Smith so radically remakes Van Morrison’s garage-rock anthem that it’s a stretch to call it a cover. Most of the lyrics (including an opening line that’s lost little, if any, of its power to shock) are her own poetry intertwined with the sturdy latticework of Them’s three-chord power pop. And the music is so artfully rearranged that the (lustful, ecstatic) chorus arrives as a revelation of its own.
“Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine;
Meltin’ in a pot of thieves,
Wild card up my sleeve,
Thick heart of stone,
My sins my own;
They belong to me…..
And I said darling, tell me your name, she told me her name;
She whispered to me, she told me her name;
And her name is, and her name is, and her name is, and her name is G-l-o-r-i-a….