Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” Lyrics Meaning

Laura Branigan’s “Gloria”, tells the story of a woman named Gloria who is in a rush to get a man irrespective of the consequences. She relentlessly puts up a certain appeal to please the men she wants, but is unaware her desperation is seen by them.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Laura Branigan's Gloria at

Apparently, this woman believes she is very attractive and as such every man she meets must be interested in her. Her disposition unknowingly drives many men away. Interestingly enough, she doesn’t seem to realize her approach is the problem.

Her Character

The singer describes Gloria in the first verse as a lady who chases after men. Two things could account for why she keeps chasing after guys for an affair. The first one could be because she is growing older and has still been unable to settle down. The second could simply be because of financial reasons. The latter is likely her reason for her promiscuous behavior.

She uses all means to signal her potential lover that she’s interested in him but the narrator strongly advises her against it. She is asked to slow down and be careful not to show her intentions to the man at such a fast pace. Traditionally, most men lose interest in such women because men are more committed to a woman they chase, not the other way round.

Gloria’s Mindset

Her mindset that she’s so good-looking she can jump off and on to the next guy is her excuse for all her failed relationships. The writer (who’s a friend of Gloria’s) is reminding her that this mindset is obviously not doing her any good.

The Narrator speaks frankly to Gloria

Towards the middle of the song, the narrator strongly rubs the reality of the issue into Gloria’s face. She tells her that if she believes she can easily attract a man, why is nobody calling her? Why is she rather in a hurry to chase them? 

A More In Depth Explanation of “Gloria”

This song finds the vocalist addressing one “Gloria”, who is obviously a friend of hers, given how personal the lyrics are. Our previous analysis of this track was ambitious but perhaps too narrow, as there really is a whole lot going on in this piece.  

“Gloria” comes off as being a lot more intricate when taking the time to read the lyrics as opposed to listening to them. So this time around, we will take a look at what’s being put forth verse by verse and see if we can then ascertain a definitive storyline.

Verse 1

From the onset, the subject is depicted as “running after somebody”. Within the context of the rest of the first verse, that means Gloria is hard and visibly on the hunt for a significant other, if you will. Perhaps she has reached a stage in life, as many single women do, where she’s feening for a husband. But Gloria’s age, background, etc. is never actually revealed.

What is firmly established by the time the first verse concludes is that in Laura’s eyes, Gloria is trying too hard to land that special someone. Indeed, the way the vocalist perceives it is that if she continues operating under such a modus operandi, she is “headed for a breakdown”.

Furthermore, Laura seems to allude to the somewhat-popular notion that it isn’t good for a woman to come off as being too romantically needy. As generally understood, chasing a romantic interest is what men, not women, are supposed to do. 

Relatedly, there are quite a few guys out there who seem to be turned off by a woman who is too aggressive. So that’s probably why Laura predicts Gloria may “blow it” and a couple of lines later advises her to “be careful not to show it”. Or let’s say that regardless of what the vocalist’s specific rationale may be, she knows that isn’t ideal for her friend to wear the desire for a man on her sleeve.


But the refrain that follows, as with the usage of the word “breakdown” earlier, gives the impression that what Gloria is going through mentally is more serious than just needing a man. 

For instance, Laura mentions ‘the voices in the head’ of the subject. But it is not specified what is causing that malady.

It may be, based on the first two lines of the refrain, that she is dealing with so many guys that she’s become confused. Or let’s say that the general impression being given here is that as far as romance goes the subject is more about quantity than quality so to speak, i.e. being more concerned with landing a husband in general than the guy’s views on life, his personality or what have you, which is why she “really don’t remember” what he has to say to begin with.

Verse 2

The second verse then sorta buttresses the idea that maybe Gloria is dating multiple dudes, though being able to gather that notion from this passage is a matter of interpretation. And now would be a good time to point out that the lyrics of this song aren’t that specific and even, to some extent, can be considered confusing.

For example, in this second verse, Laura alludes to no one being interested in Gloria like that, yet her being a hot item on the dating scene at the same time. So this is one of those types of tracks where you have to sorta feel what the vocalist is saying instead of taking all that’s being put forth literally.

One reasonable explanation, as provided by an analyst, given for this apparent contradiction is that Laura is once again referring to the voices in Gloria’s head. If understood so, that would mean that said voices are indicative of the subject’s disillusionment, i.e. Gloria believing she is more in demand than she actually is – or something like that. 

Another possible interpretation is this being Laura’s way of recognizing that whereas Gloria does have a number of suitors, none of them are really serious or ideal.

The Chorus of “Gloria”

It can be said that the chorus does support that latter theory. Not only is it implied in the chorus that a number of different dudes have the subject’s phone number but furthermore that she has an alias. 

In other words, the vocalist is insinuating that Gloria doesn’t always give her real name to romantic interests. And Laura proceeds to hint, once again depending on interpretation, that she now has so many boyfriends that she’s become confused. 

That is to say, based on this hypothesis, that the reason Gloria “really don’t remember” all that’s been said to her and the explanation behind her having ‘voices in her head’ would be because the she’s dealing with an unhealthy amount of guys simultaneously, i.e. being disoriented by the sheer multitude.

“Gloria, you’re always on the run now
Running after somebody
You gotta get him somehow
I think you’ve got to slow down
Before you start to blow it
I think you’re headed for a breakdown
So be careful not to show it”

Verse 3

So with all of that in mind, the third verse actually reads like a warning against promiscuity. Or put otherwise, it’s as if Laura is mocking Gloria for being so scatterbrained or universally-accepting in terms of the type of men she entertains. 

But the vocalist is not doing so in the name of actually making fun of her friend. Instead, this reads like her way of cautioning her that she will lose her “innocence” if she keeps playing the field like that. Or let’s say that Laura doesn’t want to see her friend sleeping around with different guys only to later on realize that none of them were the one.

In Conclusion

After the third verse comes a repeating of the refrain, the second verse (acting as the fourth verse) and the chorus. And again, there is a lot of ambiguity concerning certain specifics behind these lyrics. 

But the one conclusion we can confidently come to nonetheless is that Laura is deeply concerned with the way Gloria is conducting herself romantically, as if she is shamelessly desperate, so to speak.

The way Laura sees it, said desperation is first and foremost having a negative effect on her mentally.  And what’s further inferred is the vocalist being worried that, excuse our French, her friend may end up being some type of a ho, i.e. her willingness to entertain different guys making her more vulnerable to being sexually exploited.

What do we think?

Many think the lyrics of this song tell the tale of a woman engaged in prostitution. However, it is also very likely it’s just about a woman bent on getting married to a man primarily for financial benefits and not because she loves him. So Gloria is basically playing games with men. And it is for this reason she finds it difficult settling down with any of them. The men abandon her the moment they realize the game she’s playing.

What did Laura Branigan say about this song?

According to Branigan, the lyrics center around a girl who is “running too fast for her own steps”.

Facts about “Gloria”

  • Umberto Tozzi, Trevor Veitch, and Giancarlo Bigazzi are the authors of this song.
  • Greg Mathieson and Jack White teamed up for the production of this classic tune.
  • The track became Laura Branigan’s signature song after its release as a single in June 1982. “Gloria” was included on Laura’s maiden album titled Branigan. It is the second song on that album.
  • The original version of this song was performed by Italian pop singer, Umberto Tozzi, which he released in 1979.
  • Laura’s version of “Gloria” was used in the 2006 popular video game, titled, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. The song was also used in an episode (“Splatty Tomato”) of the hit TV series, South Park.
  • Australian Pop girl group, Young Divas released a cover version of this track in 2006. Glee Cast (Feat. Adam Lambert) also performed a version of this tune in 2014.

How did “Gloria” perform on the charts?

It performed admirably on the charts of numerous nations. It soared to No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also peaked at No.1 in Canada and in Australia. In the UK, this tune ranked at No.6.

Did “Gloria” earn Laura Branigan a Grammy Award?

No. However, it was nominated for the Grammy for the Best Pop Vocal Performance Female at the 1983 Grammy Awards. The track was however, beaten to the award by “You Should Hear How She Talks About You”, a song by American singer, Melissa Manchester.

37 Responses

  1. Robert Nelson says:

    I think it’s a great song, beautifully sung by great artist. It is with such sorrow she left this world at such a young age. She is still missed a lot

  2. r says:

    I think the song is darker than that.

    Gloria (Gloria), I think they got your number
    (Gloria) I think they got the alias
    (Gloria) That you’ve been living under
    (Gloria) But you really don’t remember
    Was it something that they said?
    Are the voices in your head calling, Gloria?

    I think she may be a drug addict or someone with mental issues. Someone trying to get married wouldn’t need to go through the motions of hiding, changing their names and numbers. And I also don’t always trust what a singer says about their song, because they may have to say such things to deflect from the fact that it was written about someone they know.

    • Charms says:

      interesting Input, makes me think a bit deeper, love this song as well, i warm up my voice singing it in a steam shower. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

    • Adam says:

      There’s a problem with this, Laura Branigan wasn’t the first to sing it.

      Also why would a person with mental illness hide their identity? I work in mental health. It’s not common for someone to change their identity because of it.

      “I think they’ve got your number” colloquially means people are on to your scam. It’s not literally about her phone number in this line.

      This is supported by the contention that she’s living a lie about herself – her alias.

      And it suggests that the many suitors she claims might be imagined or fantasy.

    • Terence says:

      Yeah, really. I mean, how can the lyrics be discussed without dealing with the voices in the character’s head??

      • Tilly says:

        I think the voices in her head allude to the delusion she has that all of these men want her. It could be about mental illness but that’s the only line that supports it in my opinion. I could most definitely be wrong though

        • Will Hurt says:

          The voices in her head line means that the girl might think she’s very clever in outsmarting everyone else but people have already read her intentions and actions and know her predictable behavior. The girl might be a ho who lures other ladies men and the singer/narrator is telling her in a no barred straight talk that everyone knows that she’s a sick manipulative ho and her days are behind her

    • matthews says:

      could “i think they got the alias” be sarcastic? like she is saying nobody is calling her because she is playing hard to get, but in reality, everyone knows how to get ahold of her but nobody is interested?

      • Poyo says:

        I don’t think it’s sarcasm just because i think its more in response to her desperation for marriage/financial security. Like they already know she is desperate for a man so her “playing hard to get” mentality is useless because they see through her

    • Anonymous says:

      Love this song and I agree with your view. This song is darker than most people think… I always thought Gloria was schizophrenic and even though she was very beautiful, scared the shit of all the guys! Love Laura’s voice; RIP🙏🏻

  3. Fery says:

    She meant what she said, do not step ahead or rush before u find the right Man,let them work hard to gain you.but it is not possible all easily.go , wait , go , wait

  4. Henry (Hank) Matallana says:

    No, I wrote the lyrics. It’s true I was a friend of Gloria. She was being swept away by 2 phenomenas, one right after the other within a few days. Word got out that Gloria was starting to date again after loosing her husband several years prior. She was extremely bright, intelligent and wanted to work, so I suggested she doesn’t use her famous last name. Top men on the Forbes’ list figured it out and started calling the office non-stop. It was amazing to see how middle age men can quickly turn back into adolescent boys. They were all hailing her up to the heavens. Then, Gloria unfortunately lost most of her legendary fortune, or that’s what it seemed at the time. The men stopped calling her, but then it was the press who were viciously attacking her instead with pitch forks to descend down to Dante’s inferno. They also figured out where she was working (because of a mole,) using what seemed like an alias of a common last name. The office building was quickly surrounded by the press hungry for a story. “You really don’t remember,” was me voicing my sadness because it all got in the way with my standing appointment with Gloria. I was a high school students and she was mentoring me on poetry writing and the arts in general. My own parents were a bit absent in my life and never read to me other than kindergarten books because they had yet to learn English. Her innocence slipping away was just that: her involvement with children, even her own. One of which got to see me during those mentoring sessions. He was the best thing that ever happen to me as a teenager. I was someone’s object of affection. and I never slept so well in my life. It was truly a time of innocence and she was holding all the cards (that’s a different poem.) Gloria read my poem; which by then I had tracked it as lyrics to a tape of a recording I had overheard in one of those “phone call conversations,” and she edited it to make it sound like an old fashion music box when you recite it out loud or in your head. You can wind it around and around. That was her genius at a touch. She did it within a few seconds and then she handed it over to some men from Atlantic Records. To my surprise, she really did remember!

    It’s new year’s eve and no one is mentioning her passing, so I’m finally speaking up! This is “the night Spanish Eddie cashed it in” and OMG, Gloria was right. It’s the most sane thing to do; although sorry everyone- I had to do it on my own terms.

    Please continue to enjoy the song and remember Gloria’s spirit.

    • Ann says:

      That is a great song. I was visiting my mom and her sweet neighbor Gloria and had to play the song that was still in my head. I can still sing it but thought the lyrics now were a little dark. I’m so glad that I read your explanation and hope “Gloria” is at peace. I will remember Gloria’s spirit now especially since I won’t be able to get the tune from my brain for a while 😉

    • Anonymous says:

      So…Gloria Vanderbilt?

  5. Ken says:

    Umberto Tozzi wrote this song with the Italian composer Giancarlo Bigazzi. The Canadian songwriter Trevor Veitch, who wrote some of Sheena Easton’s hits, worked on Branigan’s version and is credited as one of the writers.

  6. Steve L says:

    I always heard this song is about Gloria Wandrous, the character in Butterfield 8. She is an alcoholic and a hooker who tries to convince a wealthy guy to leave his wife and marry her. Things don’t end well. That being said the song seems to fit and I can’t hear this song without thinking about the movie. (It’s also a book by John O’Hara for those who like to read).

  7. Anonymous says:

    I find it more than just a coincidence, that the Trumps were dancing to this song in the White House on Jan 6th while the Capital buildings were under attack, from the insurrectionists. People were trying to get help from the President to stop the raid and keep Mike Pence from being hung.
    I think their choice of THIS song PROVES that Donald Trump had it ALL planned and was laughing about what he had done.
    The words:
    If everybody wants you
    Why isn’t anybody calling?
    You don’t have to answer,
    Just leave them ‘hanging’ on the line.

    Strange why they ‘just happened’ to have this song already cued up, before the raid started.

  8. Glo says:


  9. Kevin - I think I dated Gloria longer than anyone else;) says:

    Whatever the song is about, the line “I think they got your number” is brilliant as it works both literally and figuratively.

    My interpretation is that it’s by a friend warning Gloria because Gloria is a bit “off”. I might be bias because I’ve known some women (and men) who fit this description. Gloria is still extremely active in pursuing relationships but comes across as fake, overbearing and obsessive to anyone she meets. She goes out on a lot of first dates and acts like she’s super popular, but in reality nobody ever calls for a second date. She’s trying to “fake it ’til she makes it”, but is confused by the level to which she’s actually faking it.

    The lines following “Gloria, how’s it gonna go down?” are all about Gloria fantasizing about her “relationships”. Gloria must be always telling her friend about some guy she’s considering marrying for money, or someone else who doesn’t exist (or isn’t into her).

    If this song were written today, it would have a line or two that would question why Gloria is on every online dating site if she’s too busy with her many suitors.

  10. Dave C says:

    I thought this was a song about a woman who has adopted a persona to advance in life, but has stopped being true to herself. She is on the verge of a breakdown because she is losing herself. I feel like her subconscious is in turmoil and keeps calling out to her. She doesn’t see it yet, but others are beginning to realize that she’s just putting on an act. She has this desperate need to grab onto something. She reminds me of an addict. So, not surprising that Trump was dancing to this song on January 6. I wish he would listen to the lyrics.

  11. Brenda "Nef" Clay says:

    It seems the movie “Gloia Bell” was made for this song.

  12. Rose says:

    I think the song is about drug addiction, with “Gloria” meaning euphoria, and the reference to a “man” personifying a drug. “Meeting on the Main Street” could be alluding to injection of drugs or “main-lining”. The use of an alias could be going by a “street name”

  13. Dr Strangelove says:

    Clearly this is about a woman with comorbid covert Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) along with hypersexual Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

  14. Gloria says:

    I was 12 when the Laura Branigan version was released. Unfortunately for me, I was severely bullied back then and this song only added fuel to that fire. So this song brings more bad memories for me than good. Why? because my name is Gloria. I would have this song sang at me (yes at not to) at the bus stop, on the bus, walking down the hallways. Yes this was one of the more mild bullying i experienced but after everything else that i went through this song ended up being just another way for my tormentors to torture me more. No i’m not being over dramatic, and anyone who has experienced any bullying will understand completely. Kids are cruel. Parents need to do better with teaching their children kindness, and those parents need to open their eyes when their kids are being accused of being a bully. I attempted suicide when i was 16 due to the cruel treatment i received. While I am now in a very successful career and I excel in what I do professionally, even now I still do not know how to feel comfortable and confident in social interactions outside of work. No one realizes the long term effects that bullying has. I know this song has nothing to do with bullying directly, but it certainly was used to assist in those efforts.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is awful. Belting out this song as a kid was great but can’t imagine being in your place. Glad you recovered-mostly. I’m sure this is how people named Karen feel now.

  15. Brett says:

    I’d offer a slightly different interpretation, that is perhaps true, or at least has a reasonable chance of being correct:

    There’s an eerily close tie up between the (English translation) lyrics of Gloria as sung by the Laura Branigan and the 1980 film Gloria (written /directed by John Cassavetes, cited as one of legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s favourite films) – watch the film in context of the song lyric and you’ll see what I mean.

    Was whoever was responsible for the English translation of the lyrics of Gloria (Jonathan King, according to Wiki), aware of/in touch with Cassavetes while he was writing the script? It’s possible, King (before his fall from grace) was certainly active in the entertainment industry on both sides of the Atlantic.

    If I had to lay odds I’d say there’s a 65% chance that the lyrics of Gloria were partially if not wholly inspired by or shaped around the script for the film, a script that would have been written circa ’79 which lines up with when the song ‘Gloria’ was translated into English.

    Translation of song lyrics is always a creative process. Things get tweaked (and sometimes radically transformed) in the process to fit the target audience’s expectations and to make the lyrics rhyme better in the new language.

    If anyone is interested enough to test this idea out by doing a bit of research, search for links between King and Cassavetes – i.e were they friends, business associates, did they live in close proximity or work with/for the same company at the same time (many film companies had music publishing departments)? – to see whether this theory becomes more or less likely.

    But in lieu of any further information coming to light, excepting that there’s always the possibility that the numerous striking similarities between the song and the film may be coincidental, the song’s meaning is very tidily explained in this context, including the deeper phycological aspects given the protagonist’s (Gloria’s) complex character, her predicament and Cassavantes’ talent for writing in a classic ‘Noir’ style film with a gritty ’70s Bronx, Godfather-esque update.

  16. David says:

    My thoughts lean toward Gloria actually having Borderline Personality Disorder. People with this disorder tend to think everything occurs in extreme black-and-white opposite possibilities. They are often promiscuous sexually. This personality disorder is more likely in people who are also manic, so it’s usually more than just a personality at play.

  17. Rc6000 says:

    Here is the real story about Gloria
    Atlantic Records’ managing director Doug Morris suggested that Laura Branigan work with producer Jack White, who suggested that she record an English version of Tozzi’s hit “Gloria”. Branigan recalled that on hearing the Tozzi track, “We gave it the American kick and rewrote the lyrics and off she went.”[29] Branigan’s remake of “Gloria” was produced by White and co-produced by Greg Mathieson, who had been the arranger of, and the keyboardist on Tozzi’s original song, while also being the primary keyboardist on the Branigan album.

    Branigan told People magazine that she and her producers had at first attempted an English version of Tozzi’s “Gloria” in the romantic mode of the original, changing the title to “Mario”, but that it seemed ineffective. Ultimately, Branigan recorded an English re-invention of “Gloria” as a character study of, in her words, “a girl that’s running too fast for her own steps,” the cover lyrics of which were written by Trevor Veitch, the contractor for the Branigan album, to which he also contributed guitar work; Branigan also did her part in co-writing of the cover song’s lyrics.

    In 2003, Branigan characterized “Gloria” as “Certainly my signature song. And I always get the same reaction wherever I go, and whenever I perform it … I have to end every show with that song, and people just go crazy.”[30]

    Branigan later released a hi-NRG re-recording of the song just a few months before her death. “Gloria 2004” was released with several remixes on 26 April 2004.

    Commercial performance
    “Gloria” attained its highest profile via a re-working featured on the 1982 album Branigan, the first released album by Branigan. Although another selection, “All Night with Me”, was chosen as the album’s lead single, Branigan also performed the cover song during her promotional television appearances at the time of the album’s release,[31] and the track was chosen as the album’s second single in June 1982, first becoming a disco favorite, and gradually accruing radio support to enter the pop charts in July. The single reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 on 27 November 1982, behind Lionel Richie’s “Truly”, and remained there the following two weeks, through 11 December—when Richie had been supplanted by Toni Basil’s “Mickey”.[32] BTW, GREG MATHIESON & TREVOR VIETCH WERE THE PRODUCERS ON MICKEY-Toni Basil which kept Gloria -Laura Brannigan from reaching #1 in the USA.

    “Gloria” earned Branigan a nomination for the Best Pop Vocal Performance Female Grammy Award for the year 1982. The song remained in the Top 40 for 22 weeks, and its total Hot 100 residency of 36 weeks established a new record for a single by a solo female act.[33] The song also topped Cash Box magazine’s chart.[34] Certified platinum for sales of one million in the United States alone, “Gloria” was also an international success, most notably in Australia where it held the top position for seven consecutive weeks, from 7 February to 21 March 1983. “Gloria” also reached number one in Canada, number four in Ireland, number six in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and number nine in South Africa.[citation needed
    The original songs lyrics are completely different when translated to English Jonathan King’s English lyrics, Tozzi, who takes the role of the song’s main character, tells that he is dreaming about an imaginary woman named Gloria. He describes his living days as misery, but when he dreams of Gloria, he says his nights are liberty. The protagonist describes Gloria as his queen imagination that comes from his fascination, not from any kind of fantasy. He further elaborates that he has always set Gloria free from him, just as he has set freedom from reality. He then tells that his friends think he is crazy, but he argues his point that they have never met Gloria (so far, he has no proof of her actual existence); but one day when he finds her, he says his friends will talk about Gloria’s beauty and her loyalty. To accomplish the goal of realizing his dreams despite everyone else’s protests, the protagonist sets all his life to search for Gloria until he meets her in reality, and then promises to hold her, to touch her, and to keep her because he loves Gloria.[5]

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