Enjoy all of Them with this three-disc anthology, The Complete Them 1964-67, billed as the most thorough collection of Van Morrison’s early studio and live performances ever assembled.
This is the first release via an exclusive licensing deal struck between Sony Music Entertainment’s catalogue division Legacy Recordings and Morrison’s own Exile Productions earlier this year. The set consists of all the tracks recorded for The Angry Young Them (1965) and Them Again (1966) albums, plus singles, demos, live sessions, rarities and alternate takes from the period 1964-1967, many of which are previously unreleased. As you would expect, all 56 tracks across the three CDs have been remastered and the discs come with a 16-page booklet featuring new commentary on Them by Van Morrison.
Taking their name from a 1954 science-fiction horror film, Them formed in Belfast in the early Sixties. Their original five-man line-up consisted of Morrison (lead vocals, saxophone, harmonica), Alan Henderson (bass guitar), Ronnie Millings (drums), Billy Harrison (guitar, vocals) and Eric Wrixon (keyboards). Within weeks of their first live performance in 1964 at Belfast’s Maritime Hotel, they were the hottest band in Northern Ireland’s capital, with crowds drawn by Van Morrison’s charisma and the band’s spontaneous interpretations of R&B, blues and soul music.
Decca Records signed, er, Them up and brought them to their studio in West Hampstead, London, for their first recording session during which they recorded their debut single – Don’t Start Crying Now (which was coupled with One Two Brown Eyes), Van classic Gloria (which was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999) and their take on Bo Diddley’s You Can’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover and more.
It soon became apparent that Them was really Him – Van Morrison – plus a backing band. Consequently various session musicians were brought in as and when required to augment the line-up during the band’s short-lived career before Van officially went solo.
Indeed, the second Them single – a version of Big Joe Williams’ Baby Please Don’t Go (c/w Van’s original composition Gloria) – featured Jimmy Page on guitar.
In December 1964, Them appeared for the first time on television, along with the Rolling Stones on Ready Steady Go! and by March the following year they had a Number Two UK chart hit with Here Comes the Night. Them joined the so-called British Invasion of the US in 1965, charting Stateside with Here Comes the Night and Mystic Eyes.
Their two albums were released in quick succession in the UK and US – The Angry Young Them in June/July 1965 respectively, with Them Again following in January/April 1966. The April release of the second album Stateside preceded a US tour where they enjoyed an historic residency at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles (The Doors were their opening act) and headlined at the Fillmore in San Francisco before Morrison left the group later that year.
This retrospective on his early work caps a momentous year for Van Morrison, who turned 70 in August. Previously, in June he was awarded an honorary knighthood for ‘services to the music industry and to tourism in Northern Ireland’ and the Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala in New York City.
The Complete Them 1964-1967 is released on 4 December 2015.
- • UK Pre-order: The Complete Them
- • USA Pre-order: The Complete Them
- • CANADA Pre-order: The Complete Them
- • GERMANY Pre-order: The Complete Them
- • FRANCE Pre-order: The Complete Them
- • ITALY Pre-order: The Complete Them
- Don’t Start Crying Now
- One Two Brown Eyes
- Baby Please Don’t Go
- Here Comes The Night
- All For Myself
- One More Time
- How Long Baby
- Mystic Eyes
- If You And I Could Be As Two
- Little Girl (album version)
- Just A Little Bit
- I Gave My Love A Diamond
- You Just Can’t Win
- Go On Home Baby
- Don’t Look Back
- I Like It Like That
- I’m Gonna Dress In Black
- Bright Lights, Big City
- My Little Baby
- (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
- (It Won’t Hurt) Half As Much
- Could You Would You
- Something You Got
- Call My Name (album version)
- Turn On Your Love Light
- I Put A Spell On You
- I Can Only Give You Everything
- My Lonely Sad Eyes
- I Got A Woman
- Out Of Sight
- It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
- Bad Or Good
- Hello Josephine
- Don’t You Know
- Hey Girl
- Bring ’Em On In (album version)
- Richard Cory
- Friday’s Child
- The Story Of Them Part 1
- The Story Of Them Part 2
- Baby What You Want Me To Do
- Stormy Monday Blues
- Times Getting Tougher Than Tough
CD3: (Demos, Sessions & Rarities 1964-1967)
- Don’t Start Crying Now (demo) – Previously Unissued
- Gloria (demo) – Previously Unissued
- One Two Brown Eyes (demo) – Previously Unissued
- Stormy Monday Blues (demo) – Previously Unissued
- Turn On Your Love Light (alternate version) – Previously Unissued
- Baby Please Don’t Go (Take 4) – Previously Unissued
- Here Comes The Night (Take 2) – Previously Unissued
- Gloria (Live on BBC’s “Saturday Club”) – Previously Unissued
- All For Myself (Live on BBC’s “Saturday Club”) – Previously Unissued
- Here Comes The Night (Live on BBC’s “Saturday Club”) – Previously Unissued
- Little Girl (version one)