THE BOY WITH THE THORN IN HIS SIDE

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 ?
And if they don't believe me now
Will they ever believe me ?
And if they don't believe me now
Will they ever, they ever, believe me ?
Oh ...

The boy with the thorn in his side
Behind the hatred there lies
A plundering desire for love
How can they see the Love in our eyes
And still they don't believe us ?
And after all this time
They don't want to believe us
And if they don't believe us now
Will they ever believe us ?
And when you want to Live
How do you start ?
Where do you go ?
Who do you need to know ?

Oh ...
Oh no ...
Oh ...
La ...


A whimsical and charming single about a relationship seen as doomed. Features one of Morrissey's more catchy vocals, in harmony with the swirling background strings. The author's frustation at the pessimistic and cynical predictions for the future of his relationship end with a revealing coda, whereby it is clear that he himself has no idea of the future.
The lyrics are interestingly split up into two verses, one self-centred, whereas the second is referring to "us". This implies a chronology, as his naive beliefs in the first verse are vilified in the second. This is all the more forceful by his using the first verse again, essentially, but now from the viewpoint of two people. The plaintive cry of "Will they ever believe us ?" is a lot more loaded that in the first - set after the first verse, it speaks of a fatalistic acceptance of the way of the world.
There are two versions of this song; the album version, and the single version, also available on The World Won't Listen. The single version is rumoured to be the original demo whereas the album version is reworked, with extra guitar and "Hated Salford Ensemble" string parts.

Paul Schuegraf has this to say :

"I always thought that it was a comment on his status as an artist - the boy with the thorn is Morrissey, the thorn is related to problems with his parents or relationships (people who have these problems often have "thorns in their side"). But beneath this there is this love which I think many artists of Morrissey's calibre carry for humanity in general. Thus the 'how can they see the love' refers to this - how can the media see the passion which he poured into his songs and his live performances but question his sincerity (among other things). 'If they don't believe me now...' reminds me of Don McLean's Vincent - 'they weren't listening then, they're not listening still, perhaps they never will' - also an 'artist' song.

The second verse where it changes from singular to plural - 'how can they', is simply an expansion to the position of artists in general, perhaps commenting that all artists have thorns in their side? The final four lines, 'If you want to Live', could refer to the artists desire to lose the thorn and begin a simpler life while showing that he knows nothing about it - this is the way he is - by his utter confusion 'Who do you need to know?'. Or it could refer to the response by people who are touched by the artists message who desire to 'Live'."


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