Gloria (Umberto Tozzi song)
"Gloria" (Italian pronunciation: [ˈɡlɔːrja]) is a 1979 love song that became an international hit. The song was originally written and composed in Italian by Umberto Tozzi and Giancarlo Bigazzi, and afterwards translated to English by Jonathan King. A 1982 cover version by American singer Laura Branigan sold over one million singles in the United States alone.
Artwork for some releases, including Italian release
|Single by Umberto Tozzi|
|from the album Gloria|
|B-side||"Aria di lei"|
|Recorded||By Zeke Lund|
|Studio||Union Studios Munich|
Umberto Tozzi versionEdit
Umberto Tozzi first recorded "Gloria" in 1979; that summer the song stayed on the Italian Top-10 chart for sixteen weeks, six of them at number 2. The song stayed four weeks at number 1 in both, Switzerland and – in a translated version – Spain. That same year saw Tozzi's "Gloria" achieve hit status in Austria at number 4, Belgium at number 3, the Netherlands at number 21, France at number 3, and Germany where the track reached number 8.
Tozzi's "Gloria" is a love song, as is the first English rendering of the song, recorded by its original English-language lyricist, Jonathan King, in November 1979; Tozzi later recorded and performed King's translated version of "Gloria". He also re-recorded the song with Trevor Veitch's and Laura Branigan's English lyrics; this version appears on his 2002 release, The Best of Umberto Tozzi.
In his song of Jonathan King's translated lyrics, Tozzi, who takes the role of the song's main character, tells that he is dreaming about an imaginary woman named Gloria. He describes his living days as misery, but when he dreams of Gloria, he says his nights are liberty. The protagonist describes Gloria as his queen imagination that comes from his fascination, not from any kind of fantasy. He further elaborates that he has always set Gloria free from him, just as he has set freedom from reality. He then tells that his friends think he is crazy, but he argues his point that they have never met Gloria (so far, he has no proof of her actual existence); but one day when he finds her, he says his friends will talk about Gloria's beauty and her loyalty. To accomplish the goal of realizing his dreams despite everyone else's protests, the protagonist sets all his life to search for Gloria until he meets her in reality, and then promises to hold her, to touch her, and to keep her because he loves Gloria.
- Umberto Tozzi - vocals, chorus
- Greg Mathieson - conductor, piano, keyboards
- Barry Morgan - drums
- Mats Björklund - guitar
- Les Hurdle - bass
- Filarmonica Di Monaco - strings
- Euro Cristiani - chorus
Laura Branigan versionEdit
Side-A label of the US 12-inch vinyl release, which was housed in a generic Atlantic sleeve and had no original cover art
|Single by Laura Branigan|
|from the album Branigan|
|Laura Branigan singles chronology|
|Alternative cover art|
Artwork for UK vinyl releases, zoomed-in from the cover art of the parent album, which was also variously used for most non-US single releases
Atlantic Records' managing director Doug Morris suggested that Laura Branigan work with producer Jack White, who suggested that she record an English version of Tozzi's hit "Gloria". Branigan recalled that on hearing the Tozzi track, "We gave it the American kick and rewrote the lyrics and off she went." Branigan's remake of "Gloria" was co-produced by White with Greg Mathieson, who had been the arranger of, and the keyboardist on Tozzi's original song, while also being the primary keyboardist on the Branigan album.
Branigan told People Weekly Magazine that she and her producers had at first attempted an English version of Tozzi's "Gloria" in the romantic mode of the original, changing the title to "Mario", but that this seemed ineffective. Ultimately, Branigan recorded an English re-invention of "Gloria" as a character study of, in her words, "a girl that's running too fast for her own steps", the cover lyrics of which were written by Trevor Veitch, the contractor for the Branigan album, to which he also contributed guitar work; while Branigan also did her part in co-writing of the cover song's lyrics.
In 2003, Branigan characterized "Gloria" as "Certainly my signature song. And I always get the same reaction wherever I go, and whenever I perform it ... I have to end every show with that song, and people just go crazy."
Branigan later released a Hi-NRG re-recording of the song just a few months before her death. "Gloria 2004" was released with several remixes on April 26, 2004.
"Gloria" attained its highest profile via a re-working featured on the 1982 album Branigan, the first released album by Branigan. Although another selection, "All Night with Me", was chosen as the album's lead-off single, Branigan also performed the cover song during her promotional TV appearances at the time of the album's release in early 1982, and that track was released as a single in the summer, first becoming a disco favorite, and gradually accruing radio support to debut on the pop charts in July 1982. The single reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 27, behind Lionel Richie's "Truly", and remained there in the following two weeks, through December 11—when Richie had been supplanted by Toni Basil's "Mickey".
"Gloria" earned Branigan a nomination for the Best Pop Vocal Performance Female Grammy Award for the year 1982. The song remained in the Top 40 for 22 weeks, and its total Hot 100 residency of 36 weeks established a new record for a single by a solo female act, breaking the previous record mark. Cashbox magazine's Top 100 ranked "Gloria" at number 1. Certified platinum for sales of one million in the United States alone, "Gloria" was also an international success, most notably in Australia where it held the number 1 position for seven consecutive weeks, from February 7 to March 21, 1983. "Gloria" also took Branigan to the Top-10 charts in Canada at number 1, the United Kingdom at number 6, Ireland at number 4, South Africa at number 9, New Zealand at number 6, and number 36 in Italy.
Branigan's cover of "Gloria" appeared in the musical drama Flashdance in 1983, though it wasn't included in the film's soundtrack. In a nod to her hit, Branigan's rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" performed on the Solid Gold Christmas special featured the background vocalists singing the name "Gloria", evoking both Branigan's signature song and the Latin refrain of the Christmas carol "Angels We Have Heard on High."
Branigan guest starred as the lead singer of an all-female band in the February 20th, 1983 episode of CHiPs entitled "Fox Trap," in which she lip-synced to her version of "Gloria."
Branigan's "Gloria" was featured in the 2006 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories on the in-game pop radio station "Flash FM".
The song appears as a cassette tape in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, both prequels set in the early 1980s.
The cover song was also incorporated into the score of Flashdance the Musical in a scene where the character named Gloria performs a pole dance routine; sung by Djalenja Scott and Carryl Thomas in Ruthie Stephens' 2008–09 national tour of the musical, and by Twinnie-Lee Moore and Hannah Levane in the 2010–11's play at West End theatre, where Charlotte Harwood assumed the role of Gloria.
At the end of the trailer for the post-apocalyptic comedy series The Last Man on Earth, Phil Tandy, who at the time happens to be the last person alive, sings "Gloria" on a megaphone as a desperate call for contact with a woman.
In the Scorpion episode Sci Hard, Agent Cabe Gallo's lemon car had a cassette tape with this version of the song stuck in the car's player. As a result, the song played whenever Cabe used his car in the episode, with Cabe singing it to himself at one point. At the end of the episode, Gloria plays during the climatic chase scene which ends with the bad guys' motorcycles crashing into Cabe's car, resulting in the tape ejecting and the song ending.
In 2017, the first episode of the BBC/Netflix series White Gold began with the song.
|from "Julianne Moore Danced the Night Away at the Premiere |
of Gloria Bell" by Keaton Bell@Vogue.com (5 March 2019)
|"[In what's] easily five of the most joyful minutes ever put to film [Gloria Bell] slowly approach[es] the dance floor as her theme song...plays & [then] nearly bursts in a fit of ecstasy dancing to the music." |
Chilean screenwriter/director Sebastián Lelio utilized the Umberto Tozzi rendition of "Gloria" in the 2013 film Gloria: Lelio's 2019 English-language remake Gloria Bell features the title character (played by Julianne Moore) dancing to Laura Branigan's take on the song in a sequence hailed as an essential highlight of the film:
Use by the St. Louis BluesEdit
The NHL's St. Louis Blues began using Laura Branigan's cover version of "Gloria" as its unofficial victory song when they went on a franchise-record 11-game winning streak during the 2018–19 season. The origins of Gloria's association with the Blues comes from when a few Blues players visited a bar in South Philadelphia called Jacks NYB to watch the NFL Wild Card game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears.
|“||A club member kept yelling, "Play 'Gloria!'" and DJ Matt Cella obliged by putting on Branigan's catchy pop hit every commercial break. "They just went nuts when they heard it, and we loved watching it," Blues forward Robby Fabbri said. "So we just happened to get a win the next day and made it our win song." The next day the Blues went on to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in a 3–0 shutout. Jacks members say they have trademarked "Play Gloria" and they have sold over 700 shirts bearing the phrase.||”|
At the time, the Blues had the worst record in the league at 15–18–4, had fired head coach Mike Yeo, called up rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington from the minor leagues to replace struggling starter Jake Allen, and seemed bound for a lost season. Following their January 7 victory over the Flyers, which was Binnington's first NHL start, the Blues played "Gloria" in the locker room to celebrate their victory, with it then becoming a regular locker room ritual. When their stadium's DJ learned of it, he began playing the song in the stadium to rally the team. From January 2019 the Blues would post a 30-10-5 record in the remaining games to finish at 45-28-9 and qualify for a playoff spot, eventually advancing to the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, the team’s first Stanley Cup Final since 1970, where they defeated the Boston Bruins in 7 games to win their first Stanley Cup. The dramatic turnaround in the Blues' fortunes following their adoption of "Gloria" led to it being embraced as their new victory anthem. The song is played at Enterprise Center every time the Blues win a game, leading to "Play Gloria!" becoming both a meme and victory chant for Blues fans. Local radio station Y98 played the song for 24 hours following the Blues' Game 7 double-overtime 2–1 victory over the Dallas Stars on May 8 and again two weeks later on May 22 after its Game 6 5–1 win over the San Jose Sharks to win the Western Conference Championship and advance to the finals. After the Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals, on June 12, Y98 would play Gloria again for 24 hours. The bands Phish and Vampire Weekend, who were both holding concerts in St. Louis on the night of Game 7, performed covers of "Gloria" when they learned the Blues had won the Cup.
Branigan's legacy manager Kathy Golik has embraced the trend, with Branigan's verified Twitter page frequently posting support for the Blues, especially during their 2019 playoff run. Branigan's official website also got updated with a new splash page which expressed support for the Blues and proclaimed Branigan as the "Original Play Gloria". Golik stayed in St. Louis and attended every game and watch party during the Blues' 2019 Stanley Cup run while discussing the trend with media outlets. When fans of the Boston Bruins, the Blues' opponent in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, started re-purposing the "Play Gloria" meme it earned a rebuke from Branigan's Twitter page which went viral. Custom-made Blues jerseys with Branigan's name and the number 82 surged in popularity during the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, with one being displayed on Branigan's Twitter page, along with other Blues merchandise sent by fans. "Gloria" reappeared on the iTunes singles chart thanks to the trend, going to number 3 after the Blues won the Stanley Cup. "Gloria" would also re-enter the Billboard charts in the wake of the Blues' championship, landing at #46 on the Billboard Digital Song Sales chart for the week of June 22, 2019. Golik noted that streams of "Gloria" have surged across all platforms and this has had a "trickle down" effect to the rest of Branigan's catalog, with her other hit songs such as "Self Control", "Solitare" and "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" seeing significant upticks in streams and downloads during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The song's resurgence in popularity has led to Branigan's management getting numerous requests for live performances and public appearances, leading them to release a statement reminding the public that Branigan is deceased, as well as adding a note about this to her social media accounts. Forbes described "Gloria" as an "unlikely championship anthem" and noted that the Blues' Stanley Cup victory could permanently alter the meaning and legacy of the song, with it becoming forever associated with the St. Louis Blues and ice hockey in general. Golik has also stated her belief that Branigan and "Gloria" "will forever be intertwined" with the Blues and the city of St. Louis. When asked how she thought Branigan would have reacted to the "Play Gloria" meme had she lived to see it, Golik said, "She was very sincere, very down to Earth, she would just have been very touched by it all. If she were here, I know she would have participated in a very big way. I know she’s there in spirit. To see them win and to hear that song blaring and coming up in the arena and looking around and seeing people singing out as loud as they can, cheering and having a good time, it’s indescribable what that’s like.”
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|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
Other versions and inclusionsEdit
A Czech rendering of "Gloria", titled "Dívka Gloria", was a local success for Vítězslav Vávra in 1980; as well as for the Estonian rendering of "Gloria" recorded by Mait Maltis in the same year. In 1982, Sylvie Vartan recorded "Gloria" with Branigan's song lyrics, while Lena Valaitis had a single release of "Gloria" with new German lyrics written by Michael Kunze, and production by Jack White. In 1983, Carola Häggkvist recorded a Swedish rendering of "Gloria" – lyrics by Ingela Forsman – for her album Främling; while Mona Carita recorded a Finnish rendering of the song for her album Mikä Fiilis!
"Gloria" has been used internationally in TV commercials for products as diverse as beer and flour; while another version of the song, amended into an advertising jingle with lyrics to suit the product, and soundalike vocalist to Branigan, was used in an Australian TV commercial for the 1984 Mitsubishi Cordia.
Prior to Branigan's version repeating its U.S. success in the U.K., British singer Elkie Brooks recorded her version of "Gloria", which was unreleased prior to inclusion in the 1986 album The Very Best of Elkie Brooks. Australian singer Julie Anthony also recorded "Gloria" for her 1983 covers album What a Feeling.
Broadcast in November 23, 2000, Debbie Reynolds sings a snippet of "Gloria" in the "Lows in the Mid-Eighties" episode of the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, where she performs the song as the character "Bobbi Adler" in a sequence set in 1985. Australian Young Divas included "Gloria" on their self-titled album in 2006. In 2010, South Korean actress Bae Doona headlined a television series named "Gloria", where Bae portrays an aspiring singer who gets her start and ascends to fame by singing a Korean cover of song "Gloria".
David Civera recorded a Spanish rendering of "Gloria" for his album A ritmo de clasicos in 2011, the same year that Sergio Dalma recorded another Spanish version of "Gloria" on his album Via Dalma II; the album lasted five weeks at number 1 in Spain, and earned quadruple-platinum status. Airing in December 2011, Sergio Dalma also performed the song on an RTVE special called Via Dalma, where Tozzi was also among the guests.
Jo Vally recorded a Flemish rendering of "Gloria" for his 2012 album Zingt zuiderse klassiekers; the track reached number 15 on the Ultratop chart. Gloria Trevi performed "Gloria" as an opening number in concert, and recorded a studio version of Spanish lyrics completely different from the original, released in February 2012.
On June 12, 2019, while in St. Louis, Phish covered the song following the St. Louis Blues's win over the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. The Blues would play the song after every win in 2019.
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- Vampire Weekend & Phish Cover Laura Branigan's 'Gloria' to Salute NHL Champs St. Louis Blues
- Play Gloria! The St. Louis Blues win song has quite the backstory
- Laura Branigan on Twitter
- Laura Branigan on Twitter
- One More St. Louis Blues Win, And Laura Branigan's 'Gloria' Becomes An Unlikely Championship Anthem
- The 1982 song 'Gloria' is a hit again and singer Laura Brannigan — who died in 2004 — keeps being asked to perform it live
- Laura Branigan on Twitter
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