They had no manager. Morrissey kept ‘falling out’ with them and finding ever incresingly inventive excuses as to why such and such a manager ‘has to go’. Johnny had a workload and a half, was basically running the group from top to bottom. The tapes were held by the studios they’d been using for unpaid bills. The album was delayed. Johnny had put his very into the recording and making of this, so that pissed him off. Fortunately, it all came out alright in the end! Well, and how! There are few opening tracks are simply stunningly super fantastically stupendously brilliant (!) as the title song. That roll of drums! ‘Take me back to dear old blighty…’ and then THOSE lyrics! The whole thing is perfect, and if you don’t like it….I don’t like you! Well, i’m sorry. I’m probably being unfair. I bet your’re a really nice guy/girl! You don’t have to like The Smiths or ‘The Queen Is Dead’ to be my friend. Honest. After this epic opening title song we have the quite frankly ( hey! ) silly ‘Frankly Mr Shankly’. Its dumb, its stupid. It fits perfectly and raises a smile, the lyrics are really funny, genuinely so. The guitar is fine and the production shines. ‘I Know Its Over’ has been covered by Jeff Buckley amongst others. Morrissey’s finest five minutes and forty nine seconds as a vocalist. No question. No wonder Mr Buckley was inspired by it. Again, Johnny catches Morrisseys mood and provides a perfect, dramatic and sad musical backdrop. And, yeah, it is dramatic. Its one of the most beautifully sad songs ever recorded. Never Had No One Ever’ is more of the same in terms of feel. Not quite so inspired this time but it remains perfectly fine. ‘Cemetry Gates’ is jaunty, happy and lighthearted. Perfect album structuring. Just you wait! Ah yes! What follows? Well….
‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’. Johnny comes up trumps, wins the lottery and in his own words not mine creates ‘our Jumpin Jack Flash’. It bears no resemblance to Jumping Jack Flash at all, by the way – apart from defining The Smiths in song. Fantastic guitar throughout the track. ‘Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ has another of Morrisseys most beautiful ever vocals. As soon as the first syllable is out of his mouth, i’m crying tears of joy. It really is that good. And, as ‘Bigmouth’ was largely Johnnys show, its only appropriate that this should be Morrisseys time to shine. Both support each other in actual fact, on both songs, of course 🙂 ‘how can they see the love in our eyes, and still they don’t believe us…’ Possibly a dig at the music press. Some way to have a go at the press for not believing in The Smiths. ‘Vicar In A TuTu’ is simple, stupid, happy…. and brilliant. ‘Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others’ coming off the back of another emotional, perfect song ‘There Is A Light’, is perfect to close. Really. The lyrics are funny and whilst your wiping away the tears from listening to ‘There Is A Light’ gives you another emotion entirely. Yeah, this is an emotional record. This isn’t easy listening and its not Green Day either. A masterpiece, and certainly The Smiths peak as both writers and performers. This is my personal favorite record by them.