“Glory Box” is perhaps English electronic band Portishead’s most well-known and loved track to date, released in January 1995 as the third and final single for their debut album, “Dummy”. “Glory Box” features samples from two songs: “Ike’s Rap II” by Isaac Hayes, and the bassline from “Daydream” by the Wallace Collection.
“Glory Box” was written by all members of Portishead – Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons and Adrian Utley, as well as producing the track alongside Adrian Utley. Isaac Hayes is also featured on the song-writing credits. “Glory Box” is a haunting and trip-hop song, describing romance and womanhood and how the two intertwine together. In an interview with KEXP.org back in August 2019, Portishead broke down their “Dummy” album, and of course, “Glory Box”:
Barrow: It was an Isaac Hayes sample. Sometimes in space you just find something, and I hadn’t heard it used on another track before. It’s just purity, really. That’s the loop.
Utley: It’s so luscious sounding.
Barrow: They play it so quietly. I mean that’s the other thing about it.
Utley: Isaac Hayes is singing over there. He has a massive voice, and he’s right close to the microphone. It’s quiet, and there’s loads of reverb in there. The band is really chilled, so it’s a beautiful sounding record.
Barrow: It was a really trashed record, as well. It had a warp in it. It wasn’t made on very thick plastic, so it was kind of like cheap. Obviously someone left it out in the sun or something. Luckily, it didn’t go too wobbly.
The music video for “Glory Box” was released in 1995 and directed by Alexander Flemming. The video is set in the 1950s, and shows group member Beth Gibbons as a jazz singer in a club while office workers watch her perform, with cuts of sexual tension rising between various characters in the video. The video was uploaded to YouTube on the 9th March 2015 and as of May 2020, the video has 15.7 million views and over 163 thousand likes.
Release Date: 2nd January 1995
Songwriter/s: Portishead & Isaac Hayes
Producer/s: Portishead & Adrian Utley
Label/s: Go! Discos & London
Music Video Release Date: 1995
Music Video Director: Alexander Hemming
Chart Rankings: In its year of release, “Glory Box” charted at 96 in Australia, 36 in Belgium, #10 in Canada, #25 in France, #7 in Iceland, #12 in Ireland, #31 and #25 on various charts in the Netherlands; #17 in Scotland and #13 in the UK.
The lyrics to “Glory Box” can be viewed here: LINK