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There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
June 22, 2011 1:43 AM   Subscribe

The Queen Is Dead.

Unarguably* the greatest pop album that will ever be made is 25 years old.

*Except on MetaFilter where they'll argue about anything.
posted by veedubya (101 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, just to repeat, Queen Elizabeth the second is not dead… unless she went in the night and is yet to be discovered by the maid. Just coming up to seven o’clock. Gadzooks! It’s the noble Sir David Clifton of radioshire!
posted by Sutekh at 1:49 AM on June 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


Unarguably the greatest pop album that will ever be

If you're trying to kill jonmc, I'm sure there are easier ways to do it.
posted by Rangeboy at 1:52 AM on June 22, 2011 [22 favorites]


great article with in depth behind the scenes look at the often aloof and mysterious Morrissey.
posted by adamorgana at 1:55 AM on June 22, 2011


DAMN YOU with your tease of a title for this post.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:58 AM on June 22, 2011


You know the thing I found interesting about this? The fact they used drum loops and samplers. Kind of interesting for a band that was often vocal about types of music that made use of such technology.
posted by treblekicker at 2:05 AM on June 22, 2011


Don't scare me like that!

If you're trying to kill jonmc, I'm sure there are easier ways to do it.

There's easy, and there's fun...

posted by pompomtom at 2:06 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Usually in a discussion / argument of this type someone will instantly require definitions or categories, in this case, "pop."

Fortunately, the definition of "pop" is "The Smiths."

I am the son and heir
Of nothing in particular

posted by chavenet at 2:07 AM on June 22, 2011


I don't even think Morrissey's children call him 'pop'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:09 AM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that headline made my heart skip a beat, thinking that it might be an Aretha Frankilin obit. I'm so, so glad it's not.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:26 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kind of interesting for a band that was often vocal about types of music that made use of such technology.

Well, Morrissey certainly was. Were the others? I'm guessing that Marr was (always?) more open-minded (and wasn't the creative tension one of the reasons they split up? Morrissey wanted to do Sandie Shaw covers, Marr wanted to get more experimental musically?)
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:27 AM on June 22, 2011


No, she only seems that way sometimes.
posted by bwg at 2:30 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pulling an Alan Partridge there, are we?
posted by dunkadunc at 2:31 AM on June 22, 2011


You know they deleted my post when I did this about Lady Thatcher. (And my post was only repeating the misunderstanding, not creating it.)
posted by orthogonality at 2:35 AM on June 22, 2011


No, she only seems that way sometimes.

That joke isn't funny any more.
posted by doublehappy at 2:38 AM on June 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


.
posted by solarion at 2:40 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, just to repeat, Queen Elizabeth the second is not dead…

correct. OP deserves to burn in hell for his cheap linkbaiting.
posted by krautland at 3:06 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


*Except on MetaFilter where they'll argue about anything.

Sorry, it's not even the best Smiths album. (Yes, I'm serious.)
posted by D.C. at 3:29 AM on June 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


My first reaction was that this was a post about Bambu and their track. I didn't even consider the idea that it might be obitfilter.
posted by Gnatcho at 3:31 AM on June 22, 2011


*his track
posted by Gnatcho at 3:32 AM on June 22, 2011


I used to go into goth clubs and talk about how I was in third grade when The Queen is Dead came out. Used to get me a lot of stink-eye. Now it means that I was in third grade 25 years ago, and some young whippersnapper was in third grade when Castaways and Cutouts hit the shelves.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:43 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Morrissey, you say?
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:51 AM on June 22, 2011


Sorry, it's not even the best Smiths album. (Yes, I'm serious.)

As much as I love The Queen is Dead, you're right, it's not even their best.
posted by NoMich at 3:56 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the record, the FPP says it is the "greatest" Smiths album, not the "best" one.
posted by chavenet at 4:00 AM on June 22, 2011


On the other hand, here's a picture of Morrissey with a cat on his head.
posted by pompomtom at 4:02 AM on June 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


Wow - that makes me feel old. Great album, great songs. Great sleeve, the pic of the band outside Walford Lads Club... Even the etches in the run-out grooves

A: FEAR OF MANCHESTER
B: THEM WAS ROTTEN DAYS

(if you've got it on vinyl go and check!)
posted by DanCall at 4:17 AM on June 22, 2011


Meanwhile, this chap Daniel Earwicker can you show you how to be The Smiths at home
posted by bunglin jones at 4:21 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Walford Salford
posted by anagrama at 4:22 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC!!!

Oh.. wait..
posted by Ahab at 4:29 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the review:

Because 25 years ago this month saw the release of The Queen is Dead, widely regarded by hardcore fans as the quintessential Smiths album


I misread that at first to mean "fans of hardcore saw this as the quintessential Smiths album..." rather than "hardcore Smiths fans saw this..." and was confused.

I was never a Smiths fan (I wanted more anger and less whine in my music) but I think their importance was pretty indisputable. This makes me feel old.
posted by Forktine at 4:31 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


25 years later and I still don't get it. I just put it in the category with Cricket and Marmite of things that I'm too much of a dumb American to understand.
posted by octothorpe at 4:38 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


In other news…
If your name is drawn from a pool of 9,000,000,000, you will receive a notice
----------------------------------------------------
| [YOUR NAME], YOU HAVE WON FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS! |
----------------------------------------------------

If local crackpot religious group is correct
----------------------------
| THE WORLD WILL END TODAY |
----------------------------

--------------------------------------------
| YOU ALREADY LIVE NEXT TO 1000 PEDOPHILES |
--------------------------------------------
...claims scare-mongering local politician
All this and Big Bob with the Sports, next on MetaFilter!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:44 AM on June 22, 2011


That album is 25 years old!? To quote another Brit, "What a drag it is getting old."
posted by photoslob at 4:55 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


God Save the Queen!
posted by TedW at 5:06 AM on June 22, 2011


octothorpe: 25 years later and I still don't get it.

I'm an American and not only did I get it, it got me (although their earlier albums had already gotten me, even worse.) I agree it's not their best album but as to whether it's their most well-known/influential, I don't think there's a lot of dispute, even though its only released single stalled and didn't even hit the top 25 in the UK. You couldn't swing a cat in an alley in Britain without encountering a poster for yet another of the singles off this album when I lived there -- another reason, I suppose, that the album got me (as an American, that is). If you want to talk about the expression of subterranean longings, idiosyncrasy, strong identity, originality, a sound completely unlike any other (both at the time and more especially now), you can't get much more of any of those qualities than you can in the Smiths. What still feels best about them (to me) is looking back and remembering how much my liking the Smiths marked me off as "other" to the American frat boys and business-school-aspirants I lived with on the High Street.

photoslob: That album is 25 years old!? To quote another Brit, "What a drag it is getting old."

Indeed it is.
posted by blucevalo at 5:10 AM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Fuck everything about this post so hard.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:30 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck everything about this post so hard.

But you can't though. It's celibate.
posted by NoMich at 5:40 AM on June 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


That joke isn't funny any more.

I don't owe you anything.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:41 AM on June 22, 2011


No one has said it, but the site that article is on, Sound On Sound, is the single best electronic music gear pub on the planet, and has been for a long, long time.
posted by dbiedny at 5:54 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Re-issue ! Re-package ! Re-package !
Re-evaluate the songs
Double-pack with a photograph
Extra Track (and a tacky badge).
posted by elmono at 6:17 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


That joke isn't funny any more.

I don't owe you anything.


This post has opened my eyes.
posted by dw at 6:46 AM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


The article itself was a bit disillusioning - I mean, I knew they weren't all playing live and recording off the floor in one take, but wow... That said, thanks for introducing me to the series, it looks very interesting.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:12 AM on June 22, 2011


This may have been a misleading post for some people, but as soon as I read 'The Queen Is Dead' I immediately heard the song in my head. So personally, I would have been disappointed if it was to do with anything other than The Smiths.
posted by maybeandroid at 7:31 AM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've been out of the US twice -- once to Montreal when I was about 7, and once to London when I was 14.

And while I was in London, I purchased one piece of music, on CASSETTE, (was too socially anxious to spend more that 3 minutes in the 'record store'). It was a new album by a band that I already liked. And the cassette itself was forest green, where all the cassettes coming out in the US were clear.

And I listened to lyrics that reflected all my Secret Feelings That No One Else But ME had! (I was 14, after all), and I loved it, and I felt like the sun shined out of my behind as a result of owning this really cool import.

I've long since replaced it on mp3, but I still have the cassette, which i will today dig out of the basement and introduce to my almost-14-yr-old son . . .
posted by MeiraV at 8:04 AM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Never heard it.

I'm not saying I don't like it. Or that I don't like the band, or the lead guy who became so famous (I actually like the guitarist from his solo work) or their fans. I actually don't know that much about any of this, since I've sort of let it pass by me, slightly on purpose.

Ever since I've been aware of the how various popular music movements sort of percolate throughout our culture, I've often let bands and albums sort of pass by me without affecting me. I think it might be a way of keeping some aspects of popular music culture fresh, so I am less affected by nostalgic recycles of these movements.

I really like how I can hear about these bands, and know where they generally fit in the cultural musical landscape I move through, but know nothing specific about them or their songs. It isn't a genre thing, either, since I have done this with scenes as diverse as the Barenaked Ladies (I saw them once, all playing separately, at the Winnipeg Folk Fest, and heard about them [but never saw them] when they were the Sneaky Dees house band in the 90s), Oasis (I know the one song, and couldn't pick out any of the band in a line-up -- they all seem to have the same anorak and scowl).

Occasionally I'll hear a song on the radio, and someone will say, "oh, this is Some Band You Only Recognize But Know Little Of" and I'll know I've heard it, but didn't know it was Some Band. And it will be some important band that was part of key scene, and from the Ioving away from important Album.

I love it. It's like I get to hear the music fresh, and try to decode the scene from afar, the way I did when I was first becoming aware of "real" music as a child and moving away from kids music. Having to decode my mom's record collection years or even decades later.

I'm 40+ now, and I can still recapture a little of that feeling, and I think it is because I care about music enough to deliberately remain ignorant of Important Musical Movement or Band Scene now that I haven't burned out completely, like so many of my peers.

This is not to say I haven't geeked out like some Otaku on some /other/ scene, band or movement. I'm pretty familiar with the DC punk scene (band highlight: Fugazi), the English rocksteady/dub/reggae thing from the mid-70s and 80s (The Clash), and the New York punk/new wave thing (The Ramones, Blondie). But I recognize that my interest in these scenes doesn't mean much, other than I payed attention and liked the music.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:12 AM on June 22, 2011


Take me out ... tonight (video for the pleasantly glitchy cover by Schneider TM; better audio here); many more covers here.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:29 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


YouTube playlist of the album, not quite in correct order, but it's the closest I've seen; and a blog with the album streaming on Grooveshark.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:34 AM on June 22, 2011


I knew of The Smiths before I knew them, from those giant imported London subway posters they had at Newbury Comics. Judging those posters I figured they'd be intricate and arty and British and wordy and crappy. When a friend finally sat me down with a record (The Queen is Dead, in fact) I discovered that they were in fact intricate and arty and British and wordy and FUCKING AMAZING. The Smiths were a cornerstone of several disparate bands that acted as a gateway drug into music that was not by Huey Lewis, and consequently, into everything I've been or done since then in my whole life. Seriously. And I'm not even some cultish Smiths fan but hot diggity are they great, and so peculiarly them.

Never heard it.

You just haven't earned it yet, baby.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:36 AM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I went to see them (16 yrs old) on the Queen is Dead tour. Unfortunately it was the infamous Preston Guild Hall gig, which ended before the first song (Queen is Dead) even finished after Mozzer was hit in the head by an object (popular consensus has it as a sharpened coin).

It was a frustrating gig from the outset. Packed packed packed, I managed to get to the very, very front: right where Johnny would soon be playing, almost within touching distance.
- In the crowd for over an hour before the support band, Raymond, came on. They were terrible but insisted on playing a full set even when people were spitting on them.
- Then another ridiculously long wait for The Smiths, Joyce finally kicking off the Queen is Dead drum intro. Mozzer bounces on stage singing holding a Queen is Dead sign.
- Before we knew what had happened he disappeared from the stage. The rest of the band finished the song then left the stage too.
- Everyone hung around for maybe another hour waiting for them to return, wondering what had happened at first and then singing "Hang the Thrower" (to the line of "Hang the DJ"). Eventually we were told they wouldn't be coming back and left, bereft of what had promised to be a fantastic gig. Still bitter now.

posted by NailsTheCat at 8:36 AM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Music for the Funeral of the Queen
posted by homunculus at 8:38 AM on June 22, 2011


And apparently Deadmau5 played The Light 3000 (higher quality link, with more bass, it seems)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:38 AM on June 22, 2011


That joke isn't funny any more.

I don't owe you anything.


That's my purse! I don't know you!
posted by Naberius at 9:03 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because 25 years ago this month saw the release of The Queen is Dead, widely regarded by hardcore fans as the quintessential Smiths album

I misread that at first to mean "fans of hardcore saw this as the quintessential Smiths album..." rather than "hardcore Smiths fans saw this..." and was confused.


I don't think that's a misreading. That's a miswriting.

Sorry, it's not even the best Smiths album. (Yes, I'm serious.)

As much as I love The Queen is Dead, you're right, it's not even their best.


You are wrong. It is their best.

This may have been a misleading post for some people, but as soon as I read 'The Queen Is Dead' I immediately heard the song in my head.

Yeah, I was likewise surprised to come in here and find that people didn't get it. I must be wearing my Smiths-covered glasses.

Happy birthday, TQID!

"It's so easy to laugh
it's so easy to hate
it takes strength to be gentle and kind"
posted by mrgrimm at 9:04 AM on June 22, 2011


You know they deleted my post when I did this about Lady Thatcher. (And my post was only repeating the misunderstanding, not creating it.)

Man, it hasn't even been two weeks!
posted by FatherDagon at 9:12 AM on June 22, 2011


Bigmouth/Vicar in a Tutu - Whistle Test, May 1986

He's not strange
He just wants to live his life this way
posted by mrgrimm at 9:13 AM on June 22, 2011


She's not dead, but in a coma, maybe?
posted by mmrtnt at 9:20 AM on June 22, 2011


I, too, had this on cassette. I listened to it over and over, alternated with Love's Easy Tears and the Joy Division Peel Sessions, in a cheap ghetto blaster in the back yard of a summer evening. Good times.
posted by everichon at 9:23 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's amazing the power that music has to make us remember experiences we never had. My favorite Smiths song is "Back to the Old House." The song almost always gives me tears, as if there really were some old house I remember, and someone whom I really liked. When listening to that song, I'd swear I'd written it myself out of the depths of the deepest longing. Lots of the early Smiths songs made me feel that way. I'm not so fond of TQID.
posted by PigAlien at 9:38 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Saw this on the front page, my first thought was, "Oh God, please, no..." and then "Oh God, please no... not Charles. Anyone but him."
posted by Slackermagee at 9:39 AM on June 22, 2011


Second greatest Smiths album ever.





Hatful of Hollow ftw. Yeah, I know, I know, it's not really a proper album, just a bunch of cobbled together stuff like Louder Than Bombs. It doesn't make it any less awesome. Listened to it so much on vinyl on my shitty, plastic turntable, I wore down the grooves. Twice.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:41 AM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I wonder if Hatful of Hollow will be listened to by confused adolescents and wistful adults hundreds or thousands of years from now? *sigh* Why do our lives have to be so short? Even if I can't live to see the future, I wish I could have a telescope to see it from a distance. You see, they've already got me in a melancholy mood. LOL
posted by PigAlien at 9:49 AM on June 22, 2011


Heaven knows I'm miserable now.
posted by blucevalo at 9:58 AM on June 22, 2011


The Smiths seem to me to be the aural equivalent to Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye – a sympathetic portrayal of teen angst that's very evocative, and thus is popular among people who were into it during that pivotal period of their lives. As it is, though, I discovered both later in my life; and so I kind of loath them. The Smiths make me want to hit people. Mostly people named Morrissey.
posted by koeselitz at 10:10 AM on June 22, 2011


Well, I guess I know what I'm listening to today. Thanks for this.
posted by rtha at 10:10 AM on June 22, 2011


The soundtrack to several years of my life, right there. It may or may not be the best Smiths album. But it's on my top 10 albums of all time list, hands down.
posted by The World Famous at 10:14 AM on June 22, 2011


The Smiths make me want to hit people. Mostly people named Morrissey.

What's funny is that this is pretty much how I felt when I heard them Back in the Day. I was all "dude, get over your whiny self so TIRESOME!" Hearing it now, though - yeah, evocative is the perfect word, although it doesn't evoke miserable teenage angst in me (thank god), but brings to the surface all kinds of memories of people and places from the times when this sound was everywhere. A lot of those memories are pretty great, so it's cool to have such misery music (though it's not without humor) be evocative of that.
posted by rtha at 10:15 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hatful of Hollow ftw. Yeah, I know, I know, it's not really a proper album, just a bunch of cobbled together stuff like Louder Than Bombs. It doesn't make it any less awesome. Listened to it so much on vinyl on my shitty, plastic turntable, I wore down the grooves. Twice.

When my brother left home, it was the saddest day of my life (at that point). He left me a used edition of the Hatful of Hollow LP on my bed. I sing Please, Please, Please... as a lullaby for my daughter. So I'm with you on "favorite." But for "best" or "greatest," I'll take TQID.

The Smiths make me want to hit people. Mostly people named Morrissey.

The only two people I've ever met (outside of jonmc online, and now you) who actually hated "The Smith" oftern referred to Morrissey as a "sphincter boy." I know you and know that's not where you're coming from (I also know you despise Spoon (!!), so I have to take it all with a big grain), but it actually was a pretty big deal where I came from (US Midwest) in the 80s and 90s. If you liked The Smiths, you were likely to be labeled a "fag lover" or just a "fag."

And it's not the angst, it's the brackish belligerence. ^_^
posted by mrgrimm at 10:26 AM on June 22, 2011


Strange...heard some Morrissey at a friend's house last night and it hit the spot, so I was listening to Hatful of Hollow this morning. ("How Soon Is Now" - great song or GREATEST song?) Next up: Queen is Dead!

So, wait a minute: the girl voice on Bigmouth Strikes Again is pitch-shifted Morrissey? Why am I somehow not surprised?
posted by epersonae at 10:29 AM on June 22, 2011


I find that all of my opinions on music run counter to koeselitz's. And I tend to like everything.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:29 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, wait a minute: the girl voice on Bigmouth Strikes Again is pitch-shifted Morrissey?

Ha. I was going to laugh at you, but I didn't even know it was pitch-shifted. I thought it was plain old Morrissey.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:32 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was a Smiths fan at the time it came out, and that album was a revelation: I never wanted to listen to the Smiths again.
posted by malocchio at 10:36 AM on June 22, 2011


If you want to get really blasphemous, I'd probably take Hatful of Hollow, Louder than Bombs, Strangeways Here We Come, Viva Hate, and Bona Drag to my desert island, and you all can have the rest...
posted by mrgrimm at 10:37 AM on June 22, 2011


Viva Hate, and Bona Drag

I don't remember those. Were they bootlegs?
posted by eyeballkid at 10:49 AM on June 22, 2011


Viva Hate, and Bona Drag

Morrissey solo albums, btw...
posted by kuanes at 10:52 AM on June 22, 2011


Yeah, Morrissey first solo album and singles comp. Hairdresser on Fire, Alsatian Cousin, Angel Angel Down We Go Together, Interesting Drug, I Don't Mind if You Forget Me, Picadilly Palare ... lots of good stuff.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:00 AM on June 22, 2011


I remember "feeling old" when someone told me that Morrissey had had a solo career longer than The Smiths had been around. I think that was 1995.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:01 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Morrissey solo albums, btw...

Unpossible. Morrissey died in that tragic, yet ironic, double-decker bus accident after the release of Strangeways, Here We Come.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:02 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


@mrgrimm - I remember hearing a live version (w/o Johnny) of "Sweet and Tender Hooligan" as the b-side of Interesting Drug and thinking what it would have been like if they could have just held on for a little longer. *sniff*
posted by kuanes at 11:20 AM on June 22, 2011


Generally cover/tribute albums are pretty dismal affairs, but there are some happy exceptions. And so it is here. I highly recommend "The Smiths Is Dead":

"No. Title Cover artist
1. "The Queen Is Dead" The Boo Radleys
2. "Frankly, Mr. Shankly" The High Llamas
3. "I Know It's Over" The Trash Can Sinatras
4. "Never Had No One Ever" Billy Bragg
5. "Cemetry Gates" The Frank and Walters
6. "Bigmouth Strikes Again" Placebo
7. "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" Bis
8. "Vicar in a Tutu" Therapy?
9. "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" The Divine Comedy
10. "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" Supergrass"

Not only are almost all the individual covers quite good, but the whole album has a kind of internal coherence which is rare in tribute albums by disparate artists.
posted by VikingSword at 11:36 AM on June 22, 2011


As it is, though, I discovered both later in my life; and so I kind of loath them. The Smiths make me want to hit people. Mostly people named Morrissey.

I can see that. I like a couple of Morrissey's live recordings (I recommend Live at Earl's Court) but most of his solo albums ain't all that.

If you liked The Smiths, you were likely to be labeled a "fag lover" or just a "fag."

Conveniently I was both labeled as such and actually was such. Double jeopardy was that I also loved Prince. My favorite way to drive my homophobic freshman roommate insane was a back-to-back of 1999 and Hatful of Hollow.
posted by blucevalo at 12:56 PM on June 22, 2011


I'm not a big fan of video art installations. They strike me as overwrought, over-obscure, and self-indulgent. This, however, was brilliant. Saw it at SFMoMa with a few friends
posted by smirkette at 1:09 PM on June 22, 2011


Bah, wrong button! THIS is what was brilliant: may I present: The World Won't Listen.
posted by smirkette at 1:09 PM on June 22, 2011


Great sleeve, the pic of the band outside Salford Lads Club

I had always been intrigued by that photo, so when I was 17 & backpacking around Europe, it turned out that the ferry from Ireland across to Wales came out not too far south of Manchester, so this was my chance. I'd seek out this mysterious Salford Lads Club, and also try to work out from a map where to find that road sign on the back of Strangeways, Here we Come (quarter mile from Strangeways & Ancoats, half mile from Salford).

I never found the Strangeways sign, but after a couple of hours trudging through the back streets of rough & working class Salford, I finally found The Club!

Just as I was posing like Morrissey for a picture, a burly bruiser with a head like a bowling ball walked up and accused us menacingly:

"You're Smiths fans, aren't you?"

"Uh, no, we're, uh, architecture students" I dissembled stupidly, hoping that through my trembling voice, this ultraviolent costermonger would recognise an Aussie accent, and become more favourable to my very important pilgrimage. No luck.

"We've had nothing but trouble since those bloody Smiths used OUR LADS CLUB for their photo! Graffiti, vandalism, all kinds of trouble! Now you smarmy cunts can fuck right off before I rip your heads off and shove them where the sun don't shine!"

We half walked, half ran back towards Manchester, hoping that entire gangs of Salford lads weren't chasing us. After a couple of blocks, however, we passed a pile of gravel on the road, and commando-style, I doubled back & ducked behind it to snap a long-distance picture of the club on my cheap zoomless point-n-click camera.

I didn't get the Morrissey pose photo I had so dearly wished for, but instead got a better yarn - about risking life & limb in pursuit of the holy grail that was the mysterious & dangerous Salford Lads Club.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:30 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Conveniently I was both labeled as such and actually was such. Double jeopardy was that I also loved Prince.

Huh. I can obviously see how that could be true (i.e. high-heeled boots, makeup, and "If I Was Your Girlfriend"), but for some reason Prince always got a hetero pass from my age group/locale, probably because of the dirty lyrics (e.g. Jack U Off, Darling Nikki)

We used to sit in the back of the bus in 7th grade and scream Let's Pretend We're Married at the top of our lungs.

Also, girls liked Prince. They weren't so big on The Smiths (IME).
posted by mrgrimm at 2:31 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great sleeve, the pic of the band outside Salford Lads Club

I had a 3'x4' poster version hanging in my room for years.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:34 PM on June 22, 2011


I never found the Strangeways sign

I believe it was stolen not long after Strangeways was released. (I was a student in Salford in the late eighties.)
posted by NailsTheCat at 2:38 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Queen Is Dead.

Was there a reason?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:24 PM on June 22, 2011


The Queen Is Dead.

Was there a reason?


The flames rose to her roman nose.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:42 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Keep Calm
And Carry On.
posted by misha at 5:29 PM on June 22, 2011


I like the Smiths, though I've never properly listened to them. I'm a mopey sort of person, and like This Charming Man and There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and all the other standards well enough. Need to get into them seriously though.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:24 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Trivia nobody cares about: The Gaslight Anthem were originally known as This Charming Man. probably a good idea they changed it
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:39 PM on June 22, 2011


I liked reading those articles. Good reminders of how different the Smiths were compared to everything I was listening to before someone brought me to them.
posted by dragonplayer at 8:35 PM on June 22, 2011


We used to sit in the back of the bus in 7th grade and scream Let's Pretend We're Married at the top of our lungs.

You hung out with cooler kids than I did, that's for sure.
posted by blucevalo at 7:47 AM on June 23, 2011


I believe it was stolen not long after Strangeways was released. (I was a student in Salford in the late eighties.)

I took the train to Manchester in the summer of 1990, aged about 18, largely with the intent of visiting places mentioned in Smiths songs. Once off the train, I asked a lady at the Tourist Centre about how to get to some of these locations; you should have seen her face when I mentioned Whalley Range! "Oh, we don't recommend you go there", she said, with obvious concern and alarm.

I walked for hours, from the train station to Whalley Range (kind of scary, yes), and then to Salford. I found the Lads Club at last, but was disappointed to see the sign was down. There was no one around so I walked inside and looked around. It was tiny, painted white. I imagined it full of noisey boys having fun. Leaving again, I ran into a nice couple of guys, slightly older than me, who were washing the outer wall of the building.

I had a Morrissey shirt on, which amused them. Apparently, they remembered him only as that guy, "with flowers up his arse" on Top of the Pops. I asked about the Salford Lads Club sign. "Oh, we just had to take that down while we cleaned", the main guy explained. They took me around a corner and there it was, just sitting on the pavement. I'm sure I gasped.

I tried explaining how amazing this sign had become to Smiths fans. "Yeah", the guy marvelled, "some American tried to buy it off us". We all laughed. There was a pause. Suddenly, he says, "here", bends down, rips a small chunk off one corner of the sign, and hands it to me!

This is true. I still have the wood chunk wrapped in tissue in a box somewhere. I'd hoped to have it embedded in amber and maybe make a ring out of it but I'm still broke all these years later, and these things take time, after all.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:30 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bah, wrong button! THIS is what was brilliant: may I present: The World Won't Listen.

I loved the hell out of this. Saw it on at least 5 different visits to the DMA during its run there. The two guys singing "Unlovable" crack me up like nothing. I also wonder if they are lovers or just really good friends.

I want to see it again!
posted by owtytrof at 11:56 AM on June 23, 2011


95% love, 5% hate so far. I guess I'll be the first to say "meh"

They never made me reach for the radio, neither to switch stations nor to turn it up.

To me all the songs are the same-ish, I guess it's not a bad song though.
posted by Bonzai at 11:57 AM on June 23, 2011


So, is the boar between archers or arches? Often wondered.
posted by tigrefacile at 12:20 PM on June 23, 2011


I was quite stoked by TQID, considering Meat is Murder, was a fever dream of adolescent longing and meditation at the the time, and the incredible HatFul of HOllow, was everything BUT Hollow (special priced for gatefold with 2x12 of $5.99. Oh yes OH HO HO, my admiration for the band knew no bounds.).

But upon dragging my teen hormone bedeviled bones and the the Vinyl of it home, it was full of skips. I'd gotten a shit ass copy and man did it fuck up the enjoyment, all I remember is that old British singing song (Dear old Blimey?) and the beginning guitar lick before it began to hiccup all over my turntable, so when I finally exchanged it that record wasn't funny (and I wasn't stoked) anymore.

Minus the initial stokedness, it struck me as weak, Some Girls are Bigger than Others, Frankly Mr. Shankly, Cemetary Gates, so on seemed sorta filler-like. In time the gorgeousness of There's a light that Never Goes Out and those strings (fucking STRINGS!) did the trick and wrapped it up into a lovely old British War movie kinda aesthetic and I was won over...

But it was The World Won't Listen import that put me back on track with totally loving that band. And let's face it, only Smiths posers and Johnny come lately's, bought the vulgar American version of that record: Louder Than Bombs.

(Although I eventually bought that too...)

Now let me tell you a thing or two about Strangeways Here We Come. First off it was like everyone bought that record and something seemed too produced and overdone...
posted by Skygazer at 1:34 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Old British DRINKING song.
posted by Skygazer at 1:35 PM on June 23, 2011


You hung out with cooler kids than I did, that's for sure.

They weren't that cool. Trust me. When I say back seat, I may be exaggerating. :)

They never made me reach for the radio, neither to switch stations nor to turn it up.

Consider yourself lucky. The Smiths weren't even on the radio where I lived (while they were intact).

Now let me tell you a thing or two about Strangeways Here We Come. First off it was like everyone bought that record and something seemed too produced and overdone...

Oh, I love Strangeways like a crazy uncle. You can tell the whole thing is splitting up and it's awkward and disjointed, but then you hear the slowly rising piano creeping up and "... I am the ghost of troubled Joe ..." and that growly chorus and it certainly puts you in a place and time.

I've never read much about the band outside of the liner notes and a few magazine articles, but from Strangeways, I'm guessing at some point Johnny Marr just said "fuck it" and gave up and let Morrissey take over - three songs about death, "Paint a Vulgar Picture," "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before," "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish"?? ... c'mon.

It seemed almost as if they set out to write parodies of Smiths songs and ended up writing better songs than the ones they were parodying. It also seemed like a big "fuck you" to the recording industry, which I appreciated. When the news came (shortly after the album, for me), it was pretty sad. I bet they really could have made some (more) great music.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:35 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


But it was The World Won't Listen import that put me back on track with totally loving that band. And let's face it, only Smiths posers and Johnny come lately's, bought the vulgar American version of that record: Louder Than Bombs.

Ha. I had The World Won't Listen as well, and I always resisted buying Louder than Bombs, mostly because it was $20 for a few new songs (especially since I had Hatful of Hollow - which is really the best of the 3), but you and I now know that Louder than Bombs is better than TWWL, right?

Two reasons: Sheila Take a Bow and Sweet and Tender Hooligan.

"in the midst of life we are in death etc"

(I think Morrissey wants to like his fans--he just can't.)
posted by mrgrimm at 3:43 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really like how I can hear about these bands, and know where they generally fit in the cultural musical landscape I move through, but know nothing specific about them or their songs.

You are probably wrong.
posted by Put the kettle on at 1:19 PM on June 24, 2011


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