Begad and begorrah, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of the day, I found an Irish band that was part of the British Invasion (and yes, they celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in Northern Ireland).
Them was a band from Belfast, Northern Ireland that formed in 1964. They’re probably best known for launching the career of Van Morrison, who left the group in 1966 and has had a very successful solo career, and for the song “Gloria,” which, if you’re a guitar player, you have to know. (Really, it’s Federal Law.)
Like many bands of the British Invasion, they were inspired by American blues and R&B. Their first album included Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover,” Bobby Blue Bland’s “Turn On Your Love Light,” and Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go,” their second single and first in the US. It reached #10 in the UK but only rose as high as #102 in the US. That’s today’s first number.
The B-side of the single was the aforementioned “Gloria.” Decca, their record company, decided to re-issue the previous single with “Gloria” as the A-side, and the record did better the second time around in the US, although it only reached #71. The song was considered controversial because it featured the line, “she comes to my room, then she made me feel alright.” Because of that line, WLS radio in Chicago refused to play Them’s version of the song; instead, The Big 89 played a cover by Mt. Prospect, Illinois’ The Shadows of Knight. Their version changed the line to “she called out my name, that made me feel alright.” Their version hit #1 on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey on April 1, 1966. Here’s the original.
Them broke up while on tour in the US in late 1966, and Van Morrison went on to have a lengthy career as a solo artist. The rest of the band, meanwhile, continued on until 1972, when the band dissolved.
Them, your Two for Tuesday, March 17, 2015.