Deep Cuts: Morrissey & The Smiths

They doth call him the Pope of Mope, and it’s a title he’s earned a hundred times over…and then some. Whilst fronting the Smiths in the mid-1980s, Morrissey quickly became known as the poster child for all those lonely teenagers who craved love and acceptance but were finding it hard to come by, and when the Manchester four-piece broke up in 1987, the majority of those morose music fans followed Mozzer to his solo career, where he further trumpeted his woe-is-me mentality. (C’mon, now: it’s such a hallmark of his work that even he makes fun of it sometimes!) Morrissey’s recording career has spanned almost 25 years, and although he’s been a staple of the UK charts – and of US college radio – for the majority of that time, there are plenty of his songs, both solo and with the Smiths, that can be readily classified as Deep Cuts.

A few samples…

“Work is a Four Letter Word,” The Smiths – Just Say Yes: Sire’s Winter CD Music Sampler

Does anyone else remember these great compilations that Sire Records used to release? They were awesome, particularly this first volume, which is as good a one-stop lesson on modern rock circa 1987 as you’re likely to find. In addition to tracks by Depeche Mode, Echo & the Bunnymen, the Ramones, and the Replacements, you’ll find the Smiths covering Cilla Black. Johnny Marr declared the recording of the song to be “the last straw” — and given that it was recorded during what would prove to be the Smiths’ final session, that’s apparently exactly what it was.

“Get Off the Stage,” Morrissey – Piccadilly Palare single

While it’s not exactly the albatross about Morrissey’s neck that the line “hope I die before I get old” is for the Who, you can understand why this goofy but fun diatribe aimed at aging rockers with limited musical palates isn’t pulled out more often. It’s a little risky for a man which such a recognizable sound to be crooning, “And the song that you just sang / It sounds exactly like the last one / And the next one / I bet you it will sound / Like this one.”

“Sorrow Will Come in the End,” Morrissey – Maladjusted

Yikes, dude! Bitter much? Essentially a spoken word piece, with Mozzer launching into a tirade against the results of a royalties battle with his former Smiths bandmate, Mike Joyce. “A man who slits throats has time on his hands,” sneers Moz, “and I’m gonna get you!” It’s so over the top that it’s a laugh — but not as funny as Joyce’s scoffing response to the lyrical threatening: “If Lemmy had written it, I might be concerned.” Ouch!

Check out the whole piece here, then stop back by and offer your opinions and / or alternate suggestions for the list!

  

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