Young bones groan
And the rocks below say :
"Throw your skinny body down, son !"

But I'm going to meet the one I love
So please don't stand in my way
Because I'm going to meet the one I love
No, Mamma, let me go !

Young bones groan
And the rocks below say :
"Throw your white body down !"

But I'm going to meet the one I love
At last ! At last ! At last !
I'm going to meet the one I love
La-de-da, la-de-da
No, Mamma, let me go !
No ...

I thought that if you had
An acoustic guitar
Then it meant that you were
A Protest Singer
Oh, I can smile about it now
But at the time it was terrible
No, Mamma, let me go
No ...

Very much a wasted opportunity, Shakespeare's Sister could have made a fine single if they'd got the production right. As it is, it's a rather submerged affair, with Morrissey's voice sounding rather muffled, instead of bursting with power which is surely how the song was intended.
Morrissey's theatrical lyrics of suicide and dashed aspirations would have been far better showcased in a surge of raw music instead of the half-cock production we actually got. His portrayal of a heaving and tired sack of bones, lured to suicide and despair, is acidly placed in context by the trailing absurdity of a wish-to-stardom lifestyle. Undoubtably autobiographical, the flippancy with which he deals with a very real and very terrible part of his life is really quite impressive.
The title of the song comes from a Virginia Woolf essay. The line "young bones groan" is a slight adaptation of a line from Elizabeth Smart's "By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept"; in the book, the line "...our bones groaned like old trees..." is soon after a scene where the heroine of the book stands at the edge of a cliff, considering the rocks and the sea below.
Mark Burnett says of this song :

In Tennessee William's play The Glass Menagarie The Gentleman Caller refers to the girl as Shakespeare's Sister; as well the chorus of this song is for his mother to let him go and the theme of the play is the son trying to escape his dead end life being brought about by his overbearing mother and him finally running away from her after much fighting. To a lesser extent, the verses are about a guy going to meet the one he loves and the gentleman caller did go to meet the sister who thought him to be her one true love.

 Back to Best...2 index

 Back to Louder Than Bombs index

 Back to Singles index

 Back to The World Won't Listen index