Gloria| Patti Smith – Gloria |

Gloria, as anyone who has spent time watching fair-to-average pub bands knows, is a rock and roll staple, a three chord wonder that every aspiring guitarist strums through at some point in their career, originally composed by Van Morrison. But in this case, it’s not the tune we’re interested in but the lyrics: specifically Patti Smith’s spoken word intro / poem, beginning “Jesus died for someone’s sins, but not mine.”

Patti’s attitude to religion might be seen as somewhat capricious, the daughter of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she initially rejected faith, then, like Dylan, had a later-career rethink and embraced Christianity. Her uncertainties and agnosticism are emphasized in her lyrics here, and combined with the fairly ominous photo, taken in Rome’s Coliseum, serve to focus the mind on the insignificance of man in the grand scheme of things, be that natural or theological depending on your view.

The image has been Photoshopped lightly to try to emphasize the loneliness and uncertainty of the human condition. Initially there were many more people on the Coliseum’s balconies and it wasn’t all quite so monochrome, but no matter, listen to the song and come to your own conclusions if you care to, but in any case, enjoy the music!

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