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Morning Song – Gloria

March 15, 2017

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….

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