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Today's ear X-tacy: U2 "Gloria"

Today's ear X-tacy features a classic track or deep-cut from the Alternative era every weekday at 10:10.


October 5, 1981, U2 released the song "Gloria" as a single. It's the opening track and second single from the band's 1981 album, October. The track was modestly successful in Europe but in America was mostly college radio stations that gave it airplay. "Gloria" was the first U2 music video that received heavy airplay on MTV.

In the book Race Of Angels, Bono commented on the song: "I actually really like that lyric. It was written really quickly. I think it expresses the thing of language again, this thing of speaking in tongues, looking for a way out of language. 'I try to sing this song... I try to stand up but I can't find my feet.' And taking this Latin thing, this hymn thing. It's so outrageous at the end going to the full Latin whack. That still makes me smile. It's so wonderfully mad and epic and operatic. And of course Gloria is about a woman in the Van Morrison sense. Being an Irish band, you're conscious of that. And I think that what happened at that moment was very interesting: people saw that you could actually write about a woman in the spiritual sense and that you could write about God in the sexual sense. And that was a moment. Because before that there had been a line. That you can actually sing to God, but it might be a woman? Now, you can pretend it's about God, but not a woman!”

John is the mid-morning host on WFPK. Email John at jtimmons@lpm.org