Lyrics


Last Updated : 1999/08/10

 What's the song that goes "You shut your mouth / How can you say / I go about things the wrong way / I am human and I need to be loved / Just like everybody else does" ?
How Soon Is Now ?.

 Haven't I heard "insert lyrics here" somewhere else ?
Check Sources.

 Aren't those lyrics referring to something ?
Check Sources.

 What's the song that goes "insert lyrics here" ?
Do a search to find the song.

 How does Morrissey write his lyrics ?
He keeps a notepad on which he writes phrases for future reference. In the days of The Smiths, the group would hand him a ready-made song, which he would take away, and come back a few days later with full lyrics and a full vocal.

Aren't the songs Asian Rut, The National Front Disco and Bengali In Platforms racist ?
Ah, the old "is Morrissey a racist?" discussion. This conversation has been beaten to death numerous times on Smiths lists and (surprise) a conclusion was never come to. Many feel he is speaking from the character's (who may be racist) point of view. Others think these are Morrissey's own true feelings and that he "proved it" by wrapping himself in the Union Jack flag while in concert in '92, an event thrown into sharp contrast by the recent Britpop "explosion" which saw many British artists wearing and identifying with "fascist emblems" such as this, with nary a whisper from the press. At the heat of the racist debate, the frankly despicable former NME editor Steve Sutherland wondered if Morrissey's alleged racism "might be a gay thing". Which goes to show the level of discussion of the topic at that point. Another spin has been added to this argument recently as Morrissey issued a press release concerning the album Maladjusted with the pseudonym Stoney Hando. Hando is the name of the lead skinhead character in the 1992 Australian film "Romper Stomper".

What's all this Piccadilly Palare ?
The "Piccadilly Palare" was slang used in the gay London of the 60s. Several words are used in this song :
bona - good
drag - clothes
vada - see, look at
eek - face
riah - hair

The source that Morrissey used was a radio show from the 1960s called "Round The Horne". It starred Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick, who played two homosexuals. Each show was on a different topic and was named things like "Bona Law" (hence Bona Drag). This show used the words above, plus several others.

What were the original lyrics to Wonderful Woman ?
The song was originally What Do You See In Him ?

Who is Sunny about ?
Rumours abound that Sunny is about Morrissey's (former) personal assistant/friend Jake Walters.

What does Morrissey mean in the couplet "Leather elbows on a tweed coat / Is that the best you can do ?" in Alsatian Cousin ?
In Britain, leather-elbowed jackets give a distinct suggestion of "old England" when everyone played cricket and drank tea. They are associated with Morrissey's verdant idealistic England, long gone, and only remembered in the old 60s films. The lines could be referring in part to the lover's old-fashioned ideas: Morrissey here is sneering at the hackneyed old way in which the character is living out the affair. Other interpretations abound, and are welcome.

Who is the "silly old man" in Get Off The Stage ?
Probably Mick Jagger.

What does Morrissey mumble at the end of I Started Something I Couldn't Finish ?
"OK Stephen ... do that again ?" to Stephen Street, the producer.

What are they singing at the start of The Queen Is Dead, and who are they ?
The best we have is :
Oh ! Take me back to dear old Blighty,
Put me on the train for London Town,
Take me anywhere,
Drop me anywhere,
Liverpool, Leeds or Birmingham
But I don't care,
I should like to see my...

It is a sample from the film The L-Shaped Room.

What's that sample during Spring-Heeled Jim ?
It's from "We are The Lambeth Boys", a 1959 documentary about the last man to be hanged in Britain, and is cockneys talking. Morrissey has said in an interview before that it's not a sample, but he was obviously joking.

What's that sample at the end of Billy Budd ?
It is from the film "Oliver Twist" starring Alec Guinness.

 Wasn't Margaret on the Guillotine written before Viva Hate ?
Yes, the lyrics to Margaret on the Guillotine were originally written during the Strangeways, Here We Come sessions but never had music put to them. The title Margaret on the Guillotine was also almost the name of the album The Queen is Dead.

 What unreleased songs are there by Morrissey ?
Oh Phoney, Striptease With A Difference, My Name Is Mortimer, Born To Hang, Fantastic Bird, and Stay As You Are.
Also there are rumoured songs "Buddy Buried Deeply", "Snake Curves Silently", and "In Control Of Dame Dominance", although there is even less evidence for these. Apparently the last song is about David Bowie.

 Where can I find sites in England mentioned in songs?
Check out Mozguide UK.

What does Morrissey sing at the end of Suedehead ?
"It was a good lay". From the Sounds 1988 interview :
I mean, did he really sing, "It was a good lay" at the end of "Suedehead," his first solo single?
"No, 'It was a bootleg'. I mean, good heavens, in my vocabulary? Please..."
Honestly?
"Well, have I ever been dishonest?" he laughs. "Do people think it was 'a good lay'?"
I do.
"And is that quite racy?"
Oh, yes.
"Well, it was actually 'a good lay'."
And was there one?
"No, I just thought it might amuse someone living in Hartlepool."

Is the song I Won't Share You about Johnny Marr ?
Although Morrissey has never said as much, it probably is. The Smiths' drummer, Mike Joyce, certainly thinks so.

Why did Morrissey change the lyrics to Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference when sung live ?
Morrissey changes the line "How I love all of the very simple things of life" to "complicated things of life". This is probably without much particular meaning; Moz is a fan of flippant lyrics changes in live versions, witness You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side live, where "Someone kindly told me that you'd wasted eight of nine lives" becomes the humourously sinister "Someone kindly told me that you collected very sharp bread knives".

Why does the lyrics booklet for My Early Burglary Years not contain anything like the full lyrics for Girl Least Likely To ?
Probably for simple design reasons (fitting all the lyrics at a readable size in the booklet), but conspiracy theorists may prefer to believe that it was done to thwart attempts to decipher the line that appears to be "Or standing around the shops with thieves".


This section of the FAQ is maintained by John Levon.