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85) The Smiths - The Queen is Dead

June 1986, I went into Glasgow to buy this magnificent album. The man in front asked if I was going to see them at the Barrowlands. I said I could not afford the album and a concert ticket, but I was not that bothered as I would go next time. Another excellent decision in my life, The Smiths never played Glasgow again, but I did own this fantastic album.

Johnny Marr knows more about music than I will ever know but has said that the best Smiths album was Strangeways. A great album, I would agree, but I would disagree with Johnny this is their masterpiece.

The album opens with the title track and has Mike Joyce thumping into a stomper of a song with Marr’s guitars weaving behind Morrissey and a lyric of “I know you and you cannot sing, that’s nothing you should hear me play piano,” is just genius. Brilliant from start to finish. Marr, Rourke and Joyce are tight and imaginative throughout.

Morrissey is now not most people’s cup of tea, I still like his solo stuff but usually if I read anything he says I despair, but this album has lightweight playful numbers in Frankly Mr Shankly, Vicar in a Tutu and Some Girls are Bigger than Others. How I wish we had that playful witty Morrissey now.

Cemetery Gates has Marr exceling and his guitar on this just amazes me every time.

Side two has the excellent singles Bigmouth and Thorn in Side but the highlight is There is a Light That Never Goes Out. The Smiths best track? Quite simply one of the greatest songs ever. Buy or download the whole album, it's essential.

POSTSCRIPT: These reviews are written well in advance, and this was finished before the tragic death of Andy Rourke. Morrissey and Marr get the plaudits as they wrote these fantastic songs, but The Smiths were about four men and all contributed, take one of them away and there would be something missing. Sadly, that has now happened, wherever he is now Andy Rourke should be remembered for his rich imaginative bass playing. RIP Andy.


GIVE IT A STREAM: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

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