Greetings once again! Since we’re doing this, we may as well be thorough. There are a bunch of Smiths songs (and versions of Smiths songs) that were never included on any of their official records (The Smiths; Hatful of Hollow; Meat Is Murder; The Queen Is Dead; Strangeways, Here We Come; Louder Than Bombs; Singles). Today I thought we could listen to them, see if any are worth our attention…
1. “Accept Yourself” (Troy Tate version)
The Smiths first tried to record their first album with Troy Tate. Unhappy with his production, they scrapped the session pretty quickly.
2. “Half A Person” (John Peel 12/17/86)
One of the four songs from this 1986 session (the Smiths’s fourth appearance on John Peel), “Is It Really So Strange?”, ended up on Louder Than Bombs. (The other two, which are both great, are below.) As for this song, I adore it, and will take any version I can get!
Those curious can see a complete list of the Smiths’s Peel and Jensen sessions here. This 1986 appearance is one of my favorites.
3. “How Soon Is Now?” (John Peel 8/9/84)
This is from the band’s third Peel Session, recorded in 1984. It doesn’t seem to be up at YouTube, however. (The other three are below.)
4. “How Soon Is Now” (alternate edit)
This is an alternate mix of the song that would go on to appear on numerous Smiths records. The first two minutes are the same, but then things get substantially different.
5. “How Soon Is Now?” (shorter version)
This one’s a bit of a cheat—an edit of the most overplayed Smiths song:
It’s also the last time it will appear on this list, I promise!
What makes it worth looking at is the accompanying music video. (In fact, it’s the first version of the song I heard. And it occurs to me that a whole post on Smiths videos would be worthwhile…) Anyway, this is a pretty seamless edit. You can listen to it when you don’t have time for the full length version!
6. “I Keep Mine Hidden”
The song, which was included as a B-side on the “Girlfriend in a Coma” single (1987), is particularly notorious:
The last song ever recorded as a proper group, Morrissey must have infuriated Marr by doing a music-hall light-hearted song exactly when Marr wanted to move into different musical territory. Indeed, if a song was responsible for the break-up of The Smiths, this was it.
In it you can hear a preview of a large chunk of Morrissey’s solo career.
7. “I Want a Boy for My Birthday”
I apologize for the poor audio, but this one is very rare. It’s a cover of a song by the Cookies:
The Smiths used to play it in their early live shows, then dropped it from their sets.
A very early Smiths song, recorded by Troy Tate. Morrissey convinced his barefoot idol Sandie Shaw to sing it, resulting in her hit version:
Shaw also recorded covers of “I Don’t Owe You Anything”:
…and “Hand in Glove”:
And while we’re here, we might as well look at this:
Too bad it cuts out before the song.
9. “London” (John Peel 12/17/86)
Never one of my favorite Smiths songs, although I somewhat prefer this take to the album version, due to the wilder guitar work.
10. “Marie’s The Name”
This pseudo-cover of the classic Presley tune—
—is also an alternate version of “Rusholme Ruffians” (from Meat Is Murder). It can be heard on the live album Rank (1988).
11. “Nowhere Fast” (John Peel 8/9/84)
A rather tight version of a perennially overlooked song, and rather fun. Morrissey really belts it out in the second half!
12. “Rusholme Ruffians” (John Peel 8/9/84)
From the same session as the above track, and possessing a lot of the same energy. A nice take.
13. “Sweet And Tender Hooligan” (John Peel 12/17/86)
A fine version of the song.
14. “The Draize Train”
A rare Smiths instrumental! It was a B-side to “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others,” which was released as a single in Germany:
It also appeared on Rank:
15. “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” (Troy Tate version)
The other Smiths song recorded by Troy Tate.
16. “This Charming Man” (François Kevorkian “New York” remix)
A dance-club remix that got shelved after Morrissey objected, but not before a few copies made it out there.
17. “What Do You See In Him?”
This is an early version of “Wonderful Woman” (see #9). I’m not aware of any better recordings of it; it can be found only on the bootleg “The Butterfly Collector” (a recording of an early live show).
18. “What’s The World?”
Morrissey pretends not to know who the song is by—
—but it’s a James cover:
19. “William, It Was Really Nothing” (John Peel 8/9/84)
Obviously much faster than the studio version.
20. “Wonderful Woman”
Another very early Smiths song that the band chose not to release. I happen to rather like this one.
21. “Work Is a Four Letter Word”
The other B-side on “Girlfriend in a Coma,” this is a Cilla Black cover—
—and further pushed Johnny Marr to quit, breaking up the band.
OK, so that was less productive than our other delvings, but weirder, right? And we ended up with “Jeane” and “The Draize Train” and “Wonderful Woman” (the last of which is a pretty decent find), plus the Sandie Shaw tracks, plus the John Peel stuff (especially that 86 session), as well as—depending on your taste—”I Keep Mine Hidden,” a few covers, and a host of curios. (If nothing else, you can impress your friends at your next party with that club remix of “This Charming Man.”)
In my final post in this series, I’ll throw up a chart showing where each and every Smiths song can be found. Until then—