Back in January, the St. Louis Blues looked to be one of the basket cases of the 2018-19 season. But then they caught fire, just enough to qualify for a playoff spot. That’s when things really got weird.
First, they dispatched my heavily-favored Winnipeg Jets in six. Then they took care of the Dallas Stars in seven. And while they may be down 1-0 to San Jose, they cannot be counted out when it comes to earning a birth in the Stanley Cup final.
What’s their secret? It might be this song from 1982.
Laura Branigan took a 1979 love song written in Italian by Umberto Tozzi and Giancardo Bigazzi and turned it into a massive international hit.
Even though Branigan died of a brain aneurysm in 2004, the song continues to be resurrected from time to time. One of those times is now.
Branigan’s version of “Gloria” was first heard in the Blues’ dressing room on February 7 after a comeback win against Tampa, which, at the time, was the most formidable team in the league.
It turns out that teammates Alexander Steen, Joel Edmundson, Robert Bortuzzo, Jaden Schwartz and Robby Fabbri were inspired when they heard the song when they went out to watch the Chicago Bears/Philadelphia NFC wildcard game back on January 6. The DJ at the bar kept playing the song much to the delight of the Philly fans. They kept dancing so the DJ kept playing it.
Within a week or two, “Gloria” had replaced Dion’s 1961 hit, “Runaround Sue” as the team’s post-game locker room victory song. Then a funny thing happened: The team started winning. And being the superstitious lot hockey players are, they kept playing the song. And they kept winning.
The song has since taken on a life of its own. This radio station has gone all-in, too.
However, the phenomenon has seems to confined to St. Louis and the surrounding area. I checked to see if “Gloria” has seen an uptick in streaming in the US and the answer is “no.”
Last week, the song was ranked around the 3,200th most-played song on American radio. Streams are actually down to 7,700 from 9,400 about a month ago. In fact, Branigan’s 1984 hit, “Self Control,” is out-streaming (and “Gloria” by about 20%. Sales aren’t any great shakes, either, registering as 1.040 on the digital sales chart.
In other words, Umberto, Giancardo, and Laura’s estate shouldn’t expect any big increase in their royalty cheques.