Them were formed in Belfast, Ireland, in 1963, by a young Van Morrison. Joining Morrison were bassist Alan Henderson, drummer Ronnie Mellings, pianist Eric Wrixen and guitarist Billy Harrison. Van Morrison took care of the vocals and also played harmonica and sax. In 1964, Wrixen left to join The Wheels and Mellings left to become a milkman(!). Drummer Pat McAuley and his piano playing brother, Jackie, joined, but they too soon departed, with future Camel keyboard player Peter Bardens replacing Jackie McAuley. (The McAuley brothers later formed The Belfast Gypsies). Our featured track, released as a single with Van Morrison's famous "Gloria", reached number 10 in the UK and also did fairly well in the US. A number of compilations were released in the late sixties. Van Morrison later embarked on a successful solo career and is still recording today. Other bands that have links to Them were Taste, Stud, Trader Horne and Shotgun Express.  
  
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Biography by Richie Unterberger
Not strictly a British group, but packaged as part of the British Invasion, Them forged their hard-nosed R&B sound in Belfast, Ireland, moving to England in 1964 after landing a deal with Decca Records. The band's simmering sound was dominated by boiling organ riffs, lean guitars, and the tough vocals of lead singer Van Morrison, whose recordings with Them rank among the very best performances of the British Invasion. Morrison also wrote top-notch original material for the outfit, whose lineup changed numerous times over the course of their brief existence. As a hit-making act, their résumé was brief — "Here Comes the Night" and "Baby Please Don't Go" were Top Ten hits in England, "Mystic Eyes" and "Here Comes the Night" made the Top 40 in the U.S. — but their influence was considerable, reaching bands like the Doors, whom Them played with during a residency in Los Angeles just before Van Morrison quit the band in 1966. Their most influential song of all, the classic three-chord stormer "Gloria," was actually a B-side, although the Shadows of Knight had a hit in the U.S. with a faithful, tamer cover version.

Morrison recalled his days with Them with some bitterness, noting that the heart of the original group was torn out by image-conscious record company politics, and that sessionmen (including Jimmy Page) often played on recordings. In addition to hits, Them released a couple of fine albums and several flop singles that mixed Morrison compositions with R&B and soul covers, as well as a few songs written for them by producers like Bert Berns (who penned "Here Comes the Night"). After Morrison left the group, Them splintered into the Belfast Gypsies, who released an album that (except for the vocals) approximated Them's early records, and a psychedelic outfit that kept the name Them, releasing four LPs with little resemblance to the tough sounds of their mid-'60s heyday. 

 

Jerry Cole
Jackie McAuley
Tommy Scott
Pete Bardens
Eric Bell
Bert Berns
Ray Elliot
Billy Harrison
David Harvey
Alan Henderson
Van Morrison
Jim Parker
Brian Robertson
Darren Wharton
Johnny Stark
Jim Armstrong
Keith McDowell
Ronnie Millings
Eric Wrixon
Mel Austin
Brian Scott
William Harrison
Terry Noone
Billy Bell
Joe Boni
Pat McAuley

The Pretty Things
The Yardbirds
The Rolling Stones
John Mayall
Manfred Mann
The Kinks
The Animals
Alexis Korner
Van Morrison
Georgie Fame
Shadows of Knight
The Golliwogs
The Dave Clark Five
The Chocolate Watchband
The Troggs

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

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Them - 1965 - Them - 4.5/5

Them - 1966 - Them Again - 3.5/5

Them - 1967 - Belfast Gypsies - 4.5/5

Them - 1967 - Now and Them - 3/5

Them - 1968 - Time Out, Time In for Them - 2.5/5

Them - 1971 - Them in Reality - 5/5

Them - 1979 - Shut Your Mouth - 5/5

Them - 1987 - Them featuring Van Morrison - 4.5/5

Rating

 

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