Monday, 3 July 2017

Archive On 4: Gloria And Me

ARCHIVE ON 4: GLORIA AND ME (320kbs-m4a/130mb/57mins)
BBC Radio 4 Extra broadcast: 3rd June 2017

Growing up in Belfast, the writer Glenn Patterson assumed that everything that moved him musically came from afar. To begin with, it was England and Glam Rock, but gradually strange sounds began to infiltrate from even further afield. A school friend introduced him to Patti Smith. Patti Smith introduced him to 'Gloria'. It was a convoluted route by which the song finally reached him - only a couple of miles from where it was written.

At a gig in the USA in 1988, Bruce Springsteen shouted "lets take it back to where it all started" as he launched into a version of Gloria. It's a song that's been covered by everyone from Simple Minds to Ricky Lee Jones to The Doors.

Glenn talks to Mickey Bradley, bass player with the Undertones, who remembers Gloria being one of the first songs the band learned to play. The simple three chord structure makes it deceptively straightforward - although Glenn's attempt to learn it might disprove that theory - but the song has always held a strange magic for him. Even now, he says, he would fight his corner to say it's one of the best songs Van Morrison has ever written.

Mickey and his fellow Undertones were learning to play Gloria while listening to Nuggets, an album of garage rock highlights put together by Patti Smith's guitarist, Lenny Kaye. His relationship with Gloria starts with the Patti Smith band and both he and Patti talk about why they picked this song to re-work.

And Glenn unearths a rare recording of the famously taciturn Van Morrison discussing the song, with a young Rolling Stone journalist, Cameron Crowe.

Produced by Rachel Hooper
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio Four.

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