Origin: Belfast, Ireland

Genres: Blues, Garage Rock, Rock

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Them were a Northern Ireland band formed in Belfast in 1964, most prominently known for the garage rock standard “Gloria” and as the launching pad for singer Van Morrison’s musical career.  The group was marketed in America as part of the British Invasion.  Their hits include “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” “Here Comes the Night,” “Mystic Eyes” and “Gloria.”

In 1964 Van Morrison established an R&B club at the Maritime Hotel, Belfast.  With opening night approaching Morrison sought his ideal lineup for a band.  Having been recently introduced to the East Belfast group The Gamblers Morrison saw his chance and joined the group on tenor saxophone, harmonica and vocals.  As the group felt that they needed a new name they changed it to Them after a sci-fi horror film.

Them’s first recording session took place in London in 1964 and included “Gloria.”  The session was remarkable in its employment of two drum tracks, which can be clearly heard in the stereo mixes of “Gloria.”  Them’s next single “Baby Please Don’t Go” included Jimmy Page on rhythm guitar.  By December 1964 Them made their television debut joining the Rolling Stones on Ready Steady Go!

In 1965 Them released their biggest American hit the top 30 song “Here Comes the Night” off the band’s first album, The Angry Young Them.  After the success of “Here Comes the Night” the band charted later in the year with “Mystic Eyes.”

In 1966, Them released their second album Them Again and in late spring-early summer took up a residency in Los Angeles at the Whiskey a Go Go.  For the final week of the residency The Doors opened for Them and on the last night the two bands jammed on a twenty-five minute version of “Gloria.”  Them went on to headline the Fillmore in San Francisco and then to Hawaii where the band  broke up over disputes over money with Morrison returning to Belfast.

Them were known for their energetic, spontaneous shows.  The classic song “Gloria” written when Morrison was eighteen years old could last up to twenty minutes.  “Gloria” was listed at No. 208 in Rolling Stone magazine’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Despite their relatively few hit singles, the Belfast group had considerable influence on other bands such as the Doors.  Them’s combination of garage rock and blues proved a major influence on the next generation of rock musicians, and  the group’s best known singles have become rock and roll radio staples.

Reference –

Them discography

The Angry Young Them (1965)

Them Again (1966)

Sacramento’s K-ZAP 93.3 FM plays Them.  All part of 50 years of Rock, Blues and More, 24-7 on our station’s stream at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/

Check out Them performing “Gloria.”