stop me if you think…oh never mind…

“The boy with the thorn in his side 
Behind the hatred there lies 
A murderous desire for love 
How can they look into my eyes 
And still they don’t believe me ? 
How can they hear me say those words 

Still they don’t believe me ?”

Confession time. 

Today’s classics post is all about my favourite band. Ever. If you know me personally or more importantly if you don’t, you won’t go very far without my making reference to this band every chance I get. In fact, I already did in the Courteeners post a few days ago. If you somehow missed that then look at the video above and it’s all you need to know about the band and, to a large extent, yours truly. The song The Boy With The Thorn In His Side taken from the record The Queen Is Dead and the band is The Smiths. 

The pride of Manchester. A band whom many, including the great Tony Wilson (RIP), felt were responsible for the survival of the UK indie music industry. A band whom esteemed journalist  Nick Kent compared favourably to the Beatles in regards to their potential lasting impact. They were also a band that featured the greatest lead guitarist of the time and most notably, the great rock icon we’ll know.  I could go on but…I don’t want you to move on to another blog. 

Look. The Smiths aren’t some obscure band you’ve never heard of. If you call yourself a lover of 80s music, English music, new wave, post-punk or at least somewhat tuned in to the sounds of the new new wave or ugh…Emo then by hook or by crook, the name has smacked you in the face at least once or twice.  To me, they were the important band to come along in the last thirty years. Not Nirvana (UGH), and not U2 (GAWD!) and it’s not Radiohead (although I’d be willing to listen to arguments), it’s the Smiths. What made the band so good and so timeless was that fact they were the epitome of a “square peg” when you consider the time in which they came. The early 80s. You had all the new-fangled electronic pop bands around in OMD, The League, Heaven 17, Depeche Mode, Associates… You had the New Romantic craze in ABC, Ultravox, etc… Rock music, outside of the Jam was lacking to a certain extent. The Smiths were created out of a need to look back instead of ahead. Returning to the era of three minute singles that hit you quick but were stuck in your head. The ideal of four lads against the world, saving it one song at a time. 

“I was delayed, I was way-laid
An emergency stop
I smelt the last ten seconds of life
I crashed down on the crossbar
And the pain was enough to make
A shy, bald, buddhist reflect
And plan a mass murder
Who said lied Id to her ?”

Alas, like all great things, the Smiths did come to a crashing end. What did them in? Something as pithy, miniscule but eternally damning as intra-band squabbling. With a major label contract with Warners in hand, the fallout of a bitter divorce from their label, Rough Trade and wondering where to go next after carrying the indie scene on your back for the better part of five years, It’s safe to say very few bands could survive the latter two and the pressure that comes with the former. The rest as they say is history but the music will never be. They were the Smiths and they still very much matter.  After all, without them we wouldn’t have been graced with the music of a couple of influential bands in their own right….

Another personal favourite. 


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