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Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Patti Smith - "Gloria" (1975)

Produced by former The Velvet Underground member and all around award winning record producer John Cale.

It was about eight months ago that I saw Patti Smith live in concert. She was and is a legend, and really knows how to work a crowd, but I think I can honestly say she was not my favorite part of the show. Her voice was harsh and her self righteous attitude seemed almost like a put on it felt so forced. This on the other hand sounds real. Based on the Them song of the same name, penned by lead singer and songwriter Van Morrison; Patti Smith ads a bitter introduction. Simple chord progression and snarled lyrics are part of what makes this song, and the whole album Horses seen as a jumping off point for the NYC punk movement. But I can hear country/folk influences in the guitar and the storytelling. Them sang about a young woman who was coming over and then obviously spent time with the singer. Smith takes the same basic tale and gives it more depth, setting us up the city and the neighborhood, and then really letting us know that when she's sings:

"/Here she comes/Crawlin’ up my stair
Here she comes/Waltzin’ through the hall
In a pretty red dress/And oh, she looks so good, oh, she looks so fine
And I got this crazy feeling that I’m gonna ah-ah make her mine" (Van Morrison/Smith)

she intends to make this the most memorable night that either of the woman has ever had. The song seems to be wrapping up around five minutes in, quoting Smith's opening lyrics, but then the drum rolls, and the ecstatic guitar solo at the end performed by Lenny Kaye is the perfect announcement to the world that Patti Smith is coming, lock up your sons and your daughters.

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