Hang on, this will get confusing. Van Morrison originally wrote a song called "Gloria
," released in 1964 by Morrison's band Them, on their album The Angry Young Them
. The Catholic church also has a hymn called "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," also known as the Greater Doxology - it's part of both Byzantine and Roman rites and has been since the 2nd or 3rd century. So we come to this song, where Patti Smith is covering Van Morrison's "Gloria" but giving it the Catholic hymn name. Because that's the way they do it in New York!
Patti Smith was clearly aiming for deliberate sacrilege and shock value with the title - the opening lines "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine" are one of the seminal protopunk lyrics.
Did we say "protopunk"? In New York? In 1975? Why, yes, in fact, John Cale (of Velvet Underground fame) did
produce Patti Smith's Horses
album! How did you guess? Cale, after leaving Velvet Underground and swinging into the beginnings of his solo career, worked as a producer and A&R man. Amongst other credits, he also produced for Jennifer Warnes
, The Modern Lovers, Squeeze, Iggy and The Stooges, and Sham 69. Patti Smith, by the way, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.