In between waiting for my buddy to create this blog and becoming fed up and creating it myself, the title of this tune came into my head and is thus the first post.
Produced and released in 1984, The Smiths most enduring song still sounds timeless – despite having been sampled for the woeful 1990 track ‘Hippychick’ by indie-dance band Soho and being subjected to a craptacular cover version that was used as the title music for the television series ‘Charmed’ throughout the late 1990s and 2000s.
Evolving out of a series of jams reputedly based on an Elvis Presley tune, Johnny Marr pulled the tremolo out to create a distinctive and atmospheric backing track for lead singer Morrissey to riff over. Reportedly using only nuggets from his notebooks, Morrissey wrote and recorded the lyrics the very next day.
Sadly, their British record company had fuck all idea how to handle this less than characteristic tune and effectively dumped it as the B-side to ‘William, It Was Really Nothing’, before capitulating in January 1985 and releasing it again as an A-side which reached #24 on the British singles chart. Their American record company (Sire) however saw it as a potential hit and hastily cobbled together an evocative video featuring future My Name Is Earl star Jaime Pressly. The band themselves didn’t like this clip, with Morrissey himself referring to it as “…this degrading video.” However, in my opinion the video suits the music well and Jaime Pressly has a great Miriam De Abo/Hot French Model quality about her that makes it extremely re-watchable.
With its despairing lyrics, atmospheric backing track and long running time, the song became a favourite club tune in the mid to late 1980s and also features in books of the era, notably Brett Easton Ellis’ ‘Rules of Attraction’ where it is received with a curt “Turn that gay angst music off.”
The Smiths always had great artwork too, as evidenced in the singles covers for various editions of this track. The 1992 ‘Blow-Up’ re-release being a personal favourite.
1984 12″ Cover
1985 7″ Cover
1992 CD Single
Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
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