Gloria (Umberto Tozzi song)

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"Gloria"
Single by Umberto Tozzi
B-side "Aria di lei"
Released 1979 (1979)
Format 7", 45rpm
Recorded 1979
Genre Pop, dance, disco
Length 05:04
Label CBS Records
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Umberto Tozzi

"Gloria" 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. With Laura Branigan's 1982 cover version of the song, "Gloria" sold over two million singles in the United States alone.

Umberto Tozzi song[edit]

Background[edit]

Umberto Tozzi first recorded "Gloria" in 1979;[1] 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.[2]

Tozzi's "Gloria" is a love song,[1][3] as is the first English rendering of the song,[4] recorded by its original English-language lyricist, Jonathan King, in November 1979;[5] Tozzi later recorded and performed King's translated version of "Gloria".[6] 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 2013, Tozzi's original version of "Gloria" was a soundtrack selection for two distinct films, The Wolf of Wall Street[7] and the 2013 film Gloria.[8]

Lyrical content[edit]

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.[4]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[9] 4
Belgium (Singles Chart)[2] 3
France (Singles Chart)[2] 3
Germany (Official German Charts)[10] 8
Italy (Singles Chart) 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[11] 21
Spain (Singles Chart) 1
South Africa (Singles Chart)[2] 7
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[12] 1
End of year chart (1979) Peak
position
Austria (Singles Chart)[13] 17
Italy (Singles Chart)[2] 14
Switzerland (Singles Chart)[14] 4
Region Certification Sales/shipments
France 367,000[15]
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[16] Gold 50,000^

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

Laura Branigan cover[edit]

"Gloria"
U.K. edition
Single by Laura Branigan
from the album Branigan
B-side "Living a Lie"
Released
  • June 1982 (1982-06) (US)
  • December 1982 (1982-12) (UK)
Format
  • 7", 45rpm (Single)
  • 12", 33rpm (Disco version)
Recorded 1981 in Los Angeles
Genre Synthpop, Italo disco
Length 04:50
Label Atlantic Records (ATL 11759)
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Jack White, Greg Mathieson
Laura Branigan singles chronology
"All Night With Me"
(1982)
"Gloria"
(1982)
"Solitaire"
(1983)
Music sample

Background[edit]

Atlantic Records' managing director Doug Morris suggested that Laura Branigan work with producer Jack White, who suggested that she record an English version of the 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."[17] 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."[18]

Popular success[edit]

"Gloria" attained its highest profile via a re-working featured on the 1982 album release 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,[19] 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 reached number 2 on the Hot 100 in Billboard Magazine for three weeks, ending November 27 through December 11.

"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,[20] breaking the previous record mark. Cashbox Magazine's Top 100 ranked "Gloria" at number 1. Certified platinum for sales of two 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.

Notable inclusions[edit]

Branigan's cover of "Gloria" appeared in the musical drama Flashdance in 1983. 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's "Gloria" was featured on the pop radio station Flash FM in 2006's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, a prequel set in 1984. Also in 2006 and 2009, the song was used in Seth MacFarlane's animated TV series American Dad! and The Cleveland Show, respectively. 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 2014's trailer of Will Forte's post-apocalyptic TV series, The Last Man on Earth, the main character, 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.[21] Lea Michele and Naya Rivera covered the song in the Glee episode Trio

Track listings[edit]

U.S. 7" single / digital 45
No. Title Length
1. "Gloria"   4:50
2. "Living a Lie"   3:41
U.S. 12" single
No. Title Length
1. "Gloria (Extended version)"   5:53
2. "Living a Lie"   3:41
U.K. 7" single
No. Title Length
1. "Gloria"   4:50
2. "I Wish We Could Be Alone"   3:18

Charts[edit]

Chart (1982/1983) Peak
position
Australia (Singles Chart) 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[22] 32
Canada (Singles Chart) 1
Ireland (IRMA)[23] 4
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[24] 6
South Africa (Singles Chart) 9
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[25] 6
U.S. (Cashbox Top Singles) 1
U.S. (Billboard Hot 100) 2
Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[26] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[27] Gold 1,000,000^
United States (RIAA)[27] Platinum 1,000,000^

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

Precession and 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
Cashbox 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

Subsequent releases[edit]

"Gloria 2004"
Single by Laura Branigan
Released April 26, 2004 (2004-04-26)
Format MCD, 12"
Recorded 2003
Genre Dance, Hi-NRG
Label Dance Street
Writer(s) Umberto Tozzi, Giancarlo Bigazzi, Trevor Veitch, Laura Branigan
Laura Branigan singles chronology
"Self Control 2004"
(2004)
"Gloria 2004"
(2004)
"Gloria 2011"
Single by Umberto Tozzi
Released July 5, 2011 (2011-07-05)
Format Digital distribution
Genre Dance, house
Length 04:25
Label Momy Records, Do It Yourself
Writer(s) Umberto Tozzi, Giancarlo Bigazzi, Trevor Veitch, Laura Branigan
Producer(s) Gianluca Tozzi, Elisa Viola, Zara, Sorrentino
Music video
Official public video on YouTube

Branigan released a re-recording of "Gloria" in a Hi-NRG style a few months before her death in August 2004. The track was released as "Gloria 2004" in April 2004.

Alex Gaudino and Jason Rooney released "Gloria 2011" in July 2011, as a house-music style version of Branigan's song.[28] The music video stars Umberto and Natasha Tozzi.[29]

Track listings[edit]

Gloria 2004 – CD single
No. Title Length
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
Gloria 2004 – 12" single
No. Title Length
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
Gloria 2011 – EP single
No. Title Length
1. "Gloria 2011 (Club Edit)"   4:09
2. "Gloria 2011 (Sorrentino & Zara Italian Radio Mix)"   4:25
3. "Gloria 2011 (Sorrentino & Zara English Radio Mix)"   4:25
4. "Gloria 2011 (Club Mix)"   7:13
5. "Gloria 2011 (Sorrentino & Zara Italian Extended Mix)"   6:12
6. "Gloria 2011 (Sorrentino & Zara English Extended Mix)"   6:27

Other versions and inclusions[edit]

Early years[edit]

A Czech rendering of "Gloria," titled "Dívka Gloria," was a local success for Vítězslav Vávra in 1980;[30] 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 1982[citation needed] 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.

Later years[edit]

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.[31] 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Video of Umberto Tozzi singing his original 'Gloria' in Italian". YouTube. Retrieved April 1, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Song artist 746 - Umberto Tozzi". The World's Music Charts. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Translation of "Gloria" by Umberto Tozzi from Italian to English". Lyrics Translate. Retrieved 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Video of Umberto Tozzi singing the original 'Gloria' in English". YouTube. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Chart Stats - Jonathan King - Gloria". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Umberto Tozzi - Gloria (English Version) / Aria Di Lei". 45cat. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Martin Scorcese's Jackass or The Wolf of Wall Street". The Schleicher Spin. December 26, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Quiet & Unpretentious Gloria Realistically Captivates". Charleston City Paper. February 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Umberto Tozzi – Gloria" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. ^ "Musicline.de – Umberto Tozzi Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  11. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Umberto Tozzi search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  12. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Umberto Tozzi – Gloria". Swiss Singles Chart.
  13. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1979". Austrian Charts. Retrieved 2014. 
  14. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1979". HitParade.ch. Retrieved 2014. 
  15. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes Tout Temps de 45 T. / Singles" (in French). Info Disc. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  16. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959-2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979-1990 (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392. 
  17. ^ "Branigan knows value of familiar material" (PDF). Laura Branigan website. July 3, 2003. 
  18. ^ ""Gloria" on Laura Branigan's life" (PDF). Laura Branigan website. August 20, 2003. 
  19. ^ "Video of Laura Branigan's cover of 'Gloria'". YouTube. Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  20. ^ Joel Whitburn (1991). The Billboard Hot 100 Charts: The Eighties (July 10, 1982 - March 12, 1983). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-079-2. 
  21. ^ "The Last Man On Earth - Fox - Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Laura Branigan – Gloria" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Laura Branigan". Irish Singles Chart.
  24. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Laura Branigan – Gloria". Top 40 Singles.
  25. ^ "Laura Branigan: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart.
  26. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Laura Branigan – Gloria". Music Canada. 
  27. ^ a b "American single certifications – Laura Branigan – Gloria". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  28. ^ "Gloria 2011: Umberto Tozzi". Amazon.com. July 5, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Official music video of 'Gloria 2011'". YouTube. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Zpívající bubeník Víťa Vávra: Jsem máma v domácnosti". TN.cz. January 4, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Sergio Dalma - Via Dalma, Especiales de Navidad". RTVE. December 24, 2011. 

External links[edit]