Van is the man….he made some absolutely classic songs when he started out with Them. Gloria is probably the most famous song they did but they had many more. I discovered them when I was 18 and I had to import an album from the UK to get an album. It’s not like it is now…you had to work for it. It’s pure music with a relentless backbeat.
This powerful song builds up and lead singer Van Morrison takes over. Van’s voice and the bass are hypnotic. It was the first song on the first album by Them…named Angry Young Them released in 1965. It was written by Van Morrison who would in the future use the word Mystic in a few more songs.
The song peaked at #33 on the Billboard 100 and #24 in Canada but didn’t chart in the UK. I mentioned earlier that Gloria is their most popular song but the hit version was by Shadows Of Night in 1965. It was a B side with Them to the great song Baby Please Don’t Go.
Van has said the band was improvising in the studio and the song was born.
Van Morrison said the song was inspired by his own experience walking around England’s Nottingham Park when he saw some kids playing by a graveyard. Morrison was struck by the powerful intersection between the “bright lights in the children’s eyes” and “the cloudy lights in the eyes of the dead.”
One Sunday mornin’
A-we went walkin’
Down by, the old graveyard
The mornin’ fog
I looked into
A-yeah, those mystic eyes
Her mystic eyes
Oh, the mystic eyes