Gloria Mundi was an English art-rock/punk band from London that released two albums on RCA Victor in 1978 and 1979. Saxophonist C. C. Smith was already known for credits with The Clash (“City of the Dead”) and Ultravox (“Hiroshima Mon Amour“). Singer Eddie Maelov and keyboardist/singer Sunshine Patteson later recorded as the synth duo Eddie & Sunshine.
Members: Eddie Maelov (vocals), Sunshine Patteson (vocals, keyboards), C.C. [C.C. Smith] (saxophone), Mike Nicholls (drums), Beethoven (guitar, 1977-78), Ice (bass, 1977-78), Jeremy Harrington (bass, 1978), Nigel Ross-Scott (bass, 1978-79)
Gloria Mundi formed in the mid-1970s when singing partners Eddie Maelov (aka Colin Edward Francis) and Sunshine Patteson teamed with saxophonist C. C. Smith, drummer Mike Nicholls, and bassist Rowland John Oxland, who went by the mononym “Ice.” Their name is Latin for “glory of the world.”
Early on, they included a guitarist named Beethoven (aka Peter Vas). In July/August 1975, he auditioned unsuccessfully for a second guitarist slot in the Sex Pistols. (That slot briefly went to Steve New, who later formed the Rich Kids with Pistols bassist Glen Matlock.)
In August 1977, Gloria Mundi played Reading Rock ’77, a three-day festival event that also featured sets by Golden Earring, Lone Star, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Uriah Heep, 5 Hand Reel, The Enid, Hawkwind, and The Motors. Gloria played on day two (the 27th) along with Krazy Kat, No Dice, John Miles, the Little River Band, Thin Lizzy, Graham Parker and the Rumour, and Ultravox.
Gloria Mundi and Ultravox became friendly through their interactions on the live circuit. In his pre-band days in Dagenham, Ice played with Ultravox guitarist Stevie Shears in a band called Yours. Just prior to the Reading event, C. C. played on the Ultravox track “Hiroshima Mon Amour,” which appeared on their second album Ha!-Ha!-Ha!, released that October. He also added a spiky sax riff to “City of the Dead,” a Clash b-side to their September 1977 single “Complete Control.”
As buzz swirled around Gloria Mundi, they signed to RCA in late 1977. Their debut single, “Fight Back!” (b/w “Do It”), appeared in March 1978. Maelov wrote the a-side; Sunshine co-wrote the flip with input from C. C. and Beethoven. The sleeve shows a close-up of a black-eyed, bloody-nosed subject of undetermined gender. The single was co-produced by the band and Ian Bennett and engineered by Ian Taylor (The Rezillos, Psychedelic Furs, Romeo Void, Zerra One).
1978: I, Individual
Gloria Mundi released their debut album, I, Individual, in 1978 on RCA Victor. Side A consists of four songs in the six-minute range: the first three by Maelov (“The Pack,” “Condemned to Be Free,” “Daughters of Rich Men”) and the fourth by Sunshine (“I Like Some Men”). The second side contains five shorter songs: three by Maelov (“I, Individual,” “Park Lane,” “Split Personality”) and one apiece by C. C. (“You Talk”) and Beethoven (“Victim”).
I, Individual was co-produced by Bennett and Taylor and mastered by a third Ian (Cooper), who bills himself as “Ian, Ian, Ian.” The cover, designed by one Jacey, shows a face emerge in a thumbprint on an off-white background.
In October 1978, Gloria Mundi released their second single, the group-written “Glory of the World” (b/w Maelov’s “Nothing to Say”). It was produced by guitarist Kirby (Curved Air, Stretch), who took Beethoven’s place in the band.
Between albums, Ice cleared out for bassist Nigel Ross Scott, last heard on the 1971 folk album Graffenstadden by Oliver Lindsey-Schmitt.
1979: The Word Is Out
Gloria Mundi’s second album, The Word Is Out, appeared in 1979 on RCA. Maelov wrote seven of the 10 songs, including “What’s Going On,” “First Light of Day,” “Temporary Hell,” “In the Blackout,” and “Y Y?” Ross Scott wrote lyrics to the side B opener “Dangerous to Dream.” Sunshine contributed “Do You Believe?”, which has C. C. on flute. The pre-released “Glory of the World” closes the album.
The Word Is Out was produced by John Punter (Osibisa, Roxy Music, Mr. Big, Chopyn, Doctors of Madness, Japan). He plays additional percussion on the track “Let’s Pretend (That We’re Alive).” The album was recorded at two places: Air Studios with engineer Jon Walls (Nektar, Robin Trower, Sad Cafe, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Pretenders, Lene Lovich) and Ramport Studios with engineer Butch Yates (The Who, Bethnal, Squeeze, Carmel).
RCA art director Laurence Hoadley designed the cover of The Word Is Out. It features snapshots by photographer Brian Griffin, who also captured cover images for albums by Peter Hammill (The Future Now), Lene Lovich (Flex), Joe Jackson (Look Sharp!), Ultravox (Vienna), Echo and the Bunnymen (Porcupine), and Ali Thomson (Deception Is an Art).
The Word Is Out spawned two singles: “Y Y?” (b/w “Do You Believe?”) and “Dangerous to Dream” (b/w “Temporary Hell (Part 2)”).
After Gloria Mundi
Eddie & Sunshine issued two 1981 singles on Human Records and supported Ultravox on their Rage in Eden tour. In 1983, they co-founded Survival Records with Drinking Electricity and issued three singles, all included on the album Perfect Strangers.
Oxland formed a new band with Shears, who left Ultravox in 1978. This went unrecorded when Shears joined a post-album lineup of Cowboys International. Shears then formed the duo Faith Global with Jason Guy. Oxland took the photographs used on their 1983 release The Same Mistakes.
Beethoven cut two 1980 solo singles on RCA. That same year, he cut a single with the new wave combo West End. In 1981, he formed Bete Noire with Alasdair Murray. They recorded an EP, Langham Street, that was never released.
As of July 2021, the Gloria Mundi catalogue has not been reissued.
- “Fight Back!” / “Do It” (1978)
- I, Individual (1978)
- The Word Is Out (1979)
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