Them The Angry Young Them on 180g LP
Formed in Belfast, Ireland in the early 1960s, Them's original five man lineup consisted of Van Morrison (lead vocals, saxophone, harmonica), Alan Henderson (bass guitar), Ronnie Millings (drums), Billy Harrison (guitar, vocals) and Eric Wrixon (keyboards). Taking their name from a 1954 science-fiction horror film, Them played for the first time in April 1964 at Belfast's Maritime Hotel, their set consisting of raw, dynamic interpretations of R&B, blues and soul music fueled by 18-year-old Van Morrison's undeniable power, presence and charisma. Within a few weeks, Them became the hottest band in Belfast, packing the Maritime with overflow crowds and spontaneous, dynamic shows.
Van Morrison and Them's reputation led to a contract with Decca Records, who brought the group to the label's studio in West Hampstead, England for Van's first recording session on July 5, 1964. Van Morrison's classic "Gloria" and Them's version of "Turn on Your Love Light" were recorded as well as Them's first single - "Don't Start Crying Now" c/w "One Two Brown Eyes" - and "Groovin'," "Philosophy" and a smoking version of Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover." Session musicians were brought in to augment the Them lineup, which would become increasingly fluid over the course of the band's brief career. It was apparent early on that Van Morrison was essentially Them and that his trajectory as a solo artist, working with a variety of backup musicians, was inevitable.
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 rhythm guitar. In December 1964, Them appeared for the first time on television, along with the Rolling Stones on "Ready Steady Go!" Them's next single, "Here Comes the Night," written and produced by Bert Berns, shot up to #2 on the UK charts in March 1965 and would later become their first single in the US, where the group was marketed as part of pop music's "British Invasion." Them charted in America in 1965 with both "Here Comes the Night" and "Mystic Eyes."
Decca released The Angry Young Them in June 1965, with a US release (on Parrott Records) in July; Them Again came out in the UK in January 1966 with a subsequent US release in April 1966. Them crossed the Atlantic for a US tour in May 1966, holding down an historic residency at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, with the Doors as their opening act. Them headlined at the Fillmore in San Francisco with Van Morrison leaving the group later in 1966.