Gloria (Umberto Tozzi song)

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Single by Umberto Tozzi
B-side "Aria di lei"
Released 1979
Format 7", 45rpm
Recorded 1979
Genre Pop, dance, Euro disco, Italo disco
Length 5:04
Label CBS Records
Writer(s) Umberto Tozzi, Giancarlo Bigazzi
Producer(s) Umberto Tozzi
For other songs of the same name, see Gloria (song).

"Gloria" is a pop song originally written and composed in Italian by Umberto Tozzi and Giancarlo Bigazzi, which – with English lyrics written by Trevor Veitch – became an international hit for Laura Branigan in 1982–83, selling more than two million singles in the US alone.

First recorded versions[edit]

Umberto Tozzi himself recorded the first version of "Gloria" in 1979.[1] That summer Tozzi's recording entered the Italian Top Ten for a stay of sixteen weeks, six of them at #2. It spent four weeks at #1 in both Switzerland and – in a translated version – Spain. That same year saw Tozzi's "Gloria" achieve hit status in Austria (#4), Belgium (#3 on the French chart), the Netherlands (#21), France (#3) and Germany, where the track reached #8 [3] despite a cover version by Gerd Christian (de). In 2013, Tozzi's original version of "Gloria" was a soundtrack selection for two distinct films, The Wolf of Wall Street[2] and the 2013 film Gloria.[3]

The original version of "Gloria" was a love song, as was the first English rendering of the song, recorded by its original English-language lyricist, Jonathan King, to reach #65 UK in November 1979:[4] Tozzi himself later recorded a cover interpretation of King's version.[5]

In 1980, a Czech rendering of "Gloria" titled "Dívka Gloria" was a local success for Vítězslav Vávra (cs);[6] also in 1980 an Estonian rendering of "Gloria" was recorded by Mait Maltis (et).

Charts and certifications (Umberto Tozzi version)[edit]

Laura Branigan version[edit]

UK edition
Single by Laura Branigan
from the album Branigan
B-side "Living a Lie"
Released June 1982 (US)
December 1982 (UK)
Format 7", 45rpm (Single) and 12", 33rpm ("Disco" Version).
Recorded 1981 in Los Angeles, California
Length 4:50
Label Atlantic ATL 11759
Trevor Veitch (English lyrics)
  • Jack White
  • Greg Mathieson
Laura Branigan singles chronology
"All Night With Me"
Music sample

Recording & impact[edit]

The song "Gloria" attained its highest profile via a re-working featured on the 1982 album release Branigan, the first released album by Laura Branigan. After Atlantic Records shelved Branigan's planned debut album, the label's managing director Doug Morris suggested that Branigan work with producer Jack White, and it was White, a native of Germany, who suggested that Branigan record an English version of the Umberto Tozzi hit "Gloria." Branigan recalled that on hearing the Tozzi track, "I went hmmm, because it was so soft and so European sounding. But we gave it the American kick and rewrote the lyrics and off she went."[10] 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; Mathieson was also 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 Branigan's words, "a girl that's running too fast for her own steps," whose English lyrics were written by Trevor Veitch, the contractor for the Branigan album, to which he also contributed guitar work. In the Atlantic Records Radio Tribute Show, Branigan stated: "I was involved in it [i.e., the lyric writing] but [Veitch] really wrote them."

Although another selection, "All Night With Me," was chosen as Branigan's lead-off single, Branigan also performed "Gloria" 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. The single debuted at #84 on the Hot 100 in Billboard dated July 10, 1982, eventually reaching #2 on the Hot 100 for the three weeks ending November 27 through December 11.

"Gloria" was denied the #1 position in Billboard by Lionel Richie's "Truly" for two weeks, then by Toni Basil's "Mickey" for one week. "Mickey" shared "Gloria" co-producer Mathieson, whose production collaborator on "Mickey" was "Gloria" lyricist Veitch, and both Mathieson and Veitch were session players on "Gloria" as well as "Mickey".

"Gloria" 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,[11] breaking the previous mark of 31 weeks on the Top 100 set by Debbie Reynolds's 1957 chart-topping hit of another woman's name, "Tammy". Cash Box Magazine's Top 100 ranked "Gloria" at #1. Certified platinum for sales of two million in the US alone, "Gloria" was also an international success, most notably in Australia where it held the #1 position for seven consecutive weeks, from 7 February to 21 March 1983. "Gloria" also took Branigan to the Top Ten charts in Canada (#1), the UK (#6), Ireland (#4), New Zealand (#6) and South Africa (#9), and to #36 in Italy.

"Gloria" earned Branigan a nomination for the Best Pop Vocal Performance Female Grammy Award for the year 1982. She competed against Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John, Juice Newton, and winner Melissa Manchester. The song appeared the following year in the musical drama Flashdance, even though it was not included on the movie's soundtrack album.

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."

In 2003 Branigan characterized "Gloria" as "really [not] my biggest hit, but it certainly is 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. 'Gloria' was just a great girl!"[12]

Track listings[edit]

  • U.S. 7" single / digital 45
  1. "Gloria" – 4:50
  2. "Living a Lie" – 3:41
  • U.S. 12" single
  1. "Gloria" (Extended version) – 5:53
  2. "Living a Lie" – 3:41
  • UK 7" single
  1. "Gloria" – 4:50
  2. "I Wish We Could Be Alone" – 3:18

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1982/1983) Peak
Australia Singles Chart 1
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Ireland Singles Chart 4
South African Singles Chart 9
UK Singles Chart 6
U.S. Cash Box Top Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[13] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Chart succession[edit]

Preceded by
"The Look of Love" by ABC
Canadian RPM 100 number-one singles (Laura Branigan version)
November 20, 1982
Succeeded by
"Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
Preceded by
"Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
Cash Box Top 100 Singles number-one single (Laura Branigan version)
November 27, 1982
Succeeded by
"Truly" by Lionel Richie
Preceded by
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" by Culture Club
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single (Laura Branigan version)
February 7, 1983 – March 21, 1983
Succeeded by
"Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes

2004 version[edit]

"Gloria 2004"
Single by Laura Branigan
Released April 26, 2004
Format CD, 12"
Recorded 2003
Genre Dance, Hi-NRG
Label Dance Street
Writer(s) Umberto Tozzi, Giancarlo Bigazzi, Trevor Veitch
Laura Branigan singles chronology
"Self Control 2004"
"Gloria 2004"

A re-recording of "Gloria" in a Hi-NRG style was made by Branigan a few months before her death in August of 2004; the track was released as "Gloria 2004."

Track listings[edit]

  • CD single
  1. "Gloria 2004" (Prodygee & Davis radio mix) – 3:23
  2. "Gloria 2004" (Alternative radio version) – 3:38
  3. "Gloria 2004" (S.A.D. radio mix) – 4:09
  4. "Gloria 2004" (Prodygee & Davis remix) – 6:16
  5. "Gloria 2004" (S.A.D. club mix) – 6:59
  6. "Gloria 2004" (Prodygee & Davis club mix) – 6:01
  • 12" single
  1. "Gloria 2004" (Discotronix remix) – 7:01
  2. "Gloria 2004" (Prodygee & Davis remix) – 6:16
  3. "Gloria 2004" (S.A.D. club mix) – 6:59
  4. "Gloria 2004" (Prodygee & Davis club mix) – 6:01

Other recorded versions[edit]

Versions which pre-date the 1982 Laura Branigan recording of "Gloria" are discussed in Section 1 First recorded versions.

Umberto Tozzi himself subsequently re-recorded "Gloria" with Veitch's English-language lyrics; this version appears on his 2002 release, The Best of Umberto Tozzi.

Prior to Laura Branigan's version repeating its US success in the UK British singer Elkie Brooks covered "Gloria" but Brooks' version was unreleased prior to inclusion on the 1986 compilation The Very Best of Elkie Brooks.

In 1982, Sheila recorded the song with French lyrics written by Claude Carrère and Jean Schmitt which, rather than being about a woman named Gloria, used the word in its Latin sense of "praise" to laud the French armed forces. Titled "Glori Gloria" the track was a Top Ten hit in France being the #7 biggest hit for the month of December 1982.[15][16]

Also in 1982, Sylvie Vartan recorded "Gloria" with the same lyrics as the Branigan hit while Lena Valaitis had a single release of "Gloria" with a new German lyric written by Michael Kunze; as with Branigan's version, the Valaitis version was produced by Jack White.

In 1983, Carola recorded a 1982 Swedish rendering of "Gloria" – lyrics by Ingela Forsman – for her Främling album; also Mona Carita recorded a Finnish rendering of "Gloria" for her album Mikä Fiilis!

Jo Vally (nl) recorded a Flemish rendering of "Gloria" for his 2012 album Zingt zuiderse klassiekers: the track reached #15 on the Ultratip chart.

A version of "Gloria", amended into an advertising jingle with lyrics to suit the product, and complete with a soundalike vocalist to Branigan, was used in an Australian television commercial for the 1984 Mitsubishi Cordia.

Gloria Trevi performed "Gloria" as an opening number in concert and recorded a studio version of the Spanish lyrics to be released in February 2012. The lyrics of this version are completely different in nature from the English version.

Australia's Young Divas included "Gloria" on their self titled album (2006).

Debbie Reynolds sings a snippet of "Gloria" in the "Lows in the Mid-Eighties" episode of the NBC sitcom Will & Grace which was broadcast November 23, 2000: Reynolds performs the song as the character "Bobbi Adler" in a sequence set in 1985.

"Gloria" was incorporated into the score of the stage musical Flashdance the Musical being sung by the characters Jazmin and Keisha in a scene in which a character named Gloria – formed by combining two characters: Jeanie and Tina Tech, from the original 1982 Flashdance – performs a pole dance routine. The character Gloria was introduced by Ruthie Stephens in the 2008–09 national tour of Flashdance the Musical in which Jazmin and Keisha were played by respectively Djalenja Scott and Carryl Thomas; Charlotte Harwood assumed the role of Gloria for the play's 2010–11 West End run in which Jazmin and Keisha were played by respectively Twinnie Lee Moore and Hannah Levane.

David Civera recorded a Spanish rendering of "Gloria" for his 2011 album A ritmo de clasicos: the track reached #44 on the Spanish chart.

In 2010, South Korean actress Bae Doona headlined a television series named "Gloria" which was named by the Laura Branigan song; in the series, Bae portrays an aspiring singer who gets her start and ascends to fame by singing a Korean language cover the song "Gloria".

In 2011, Sergio Dalma recorded a Spanish-language version on his album Via Dalma II. The album spent five weeks at No. 1 in Spain and earned quadruple-platinum status. Dalma also performed the song on an RTVE special called Via Dalma that aired in December 2011. Umberto Tozzi was among the guests, but Dalma sang the song as a solo. [17]

In 2014, a cover of "Gloria" was featured on Glee, in the season five episode "Trio". The song is covered by main characters Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera), Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), and features guest recurring character Elliot "Starchild" Gilbert (Adam Lambert).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Video Of Umberto Tozzi singing his original "Gloria"
  2. ^ "Martin Scorcese's Jackass or The Wolf of Wall Street". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Quiet & Unpretentious Gloria Realistically Captivates". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ Chartstats of "Gloria"
  5. ^ "Gloria (English version)/ Aria di Lei". Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c d "Tu", in various singles charts (Retrieved January 8, 2011)
  8. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes Tout Temps de 45 T. / Singles" (in French). Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959-2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979-1990 (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392. 
  10. ^ Laura Branigan website
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1991). The Billboard Hot 100 Charts: The Eighties (10 July 1982 - 12 March 1983). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-079-2. 
  12. ^ "Gloria" on Branigan's life
  13. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Laura Branigan – Gloria". Music Canada. 
  14. ^ "American single certifications – Laura Branigan – Gloria". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ "Sergio Dalma – Via Dalma (especial)". 

External links[edit]