From the Archives – The Queen is Dead The Smiths
May 31, 2023

Firstly, I would just like to say thank you to Andy Rourke for your under-appreciated contributions to not just this record but The Smiths’ catalogue, your light will never go out. The dovetailing of him and his three bandmates, Morrissey, Johnny Marr and Mike Joyce in 1986 produced one of the finest records of its era: The Queen is Dead. The Smiths littered the mid-1980s with statements of many kinds, both intensely political and musically astute. Their first two albums, The Smiths and Meat is Murder, smashed through what they perceived as an increasingly synthetic popular music sphere. Marr’s glistening, iridescent guitars coupled with Morrissey’s falsetto cries about the state of the nation fuelled their mercurial 4-year stint which still influences musicians today. Their third record The Queen is Dead, is their most cohesive, impressive and enjoyable, it’s no surprise why it’s so highly regarded by fans and critics alike.

The title track is an emphatic opener, unlike the Smiths’ earlier work, this has an impactful aura on the surface, before you unpack the lyrical tapestry. The third track ‘I Know it’s Over’ is a sombre ballad, but, in my opinion, is one of the very best in their discography. Morrissey’s vocal performance is stunning and really helps accentuate the beauty of the song.’Cemetry Gates’ closes the first side and is a vernal song about poetry, with such a gorgeous instrumental, this is a personal favourite. A brilliant first side is matched by the second side, where Marr displays his best work on the album, ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’, ‘The Boy with the Thorn in his Side’ and ‘Some Girls are Bigger than Others’ are all sublime instances of Marr’s wizardry on the guitar. I also think this side probably features the more impressive songwriting, ‘There is a Light that Never Goes Out’, is the penultimate track.

A truly timeless, wonderful album. The depth of meaning, the tremendous songwriting and superb performances from each member of the band make this a bona fide classic and one I can’t recommend highly enough.

The Top 40 Singles Chart on the Release Day of The Smiths’ Album, The Queen is Dead,  June 16th, 1986.

1 Doctor & The Medics – Spirit In The Sky

2 Simply Red – Holding Back The Years

3 Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer

4 Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait

5 Spitting Image – The Chicken Song

6 Robert Palmer – Addicted To Love

7 Tears For Fears

Everybody Wants To Rule The World

8 Patti Labelle & Michael McDonald – On My Own

9 Jaki Graham – Set Me Free

10 Real Thing – Can’t Get By Without You

(The Second Decade Remix)

11 Level 42 – Lessons In Love

12 Pete Wylie – Sinful

13 Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities

(Let’s Make Lots Of Money)

14 Falco – Vienna Calling

15 Genesis – Invisible Touch

16 Cashflow – Mine All Mine / Party Freak

17 Matchroom Mob With Chas & Dave – Snooker Loopy

18 Van Halen – Why Can’t This Be Love

19 Miami Sound Machine – Bad Boy

20 Sigue Sigue Sputnik – 21st Century Boy

21 Billy Ocean – There’ll Be Sad Songs

(To Make You Cry)

22 Status Quo – Rollin’ Home

23 Lovebug Starski – Amityville (The House on the Hill)

24 Janet Jackson – Nasty

25 Amazulu – Too Good To Be Forgotten

26 A-ha – Hunting High And Low

27 Madonna – Live To Tell

28 AC / DC – Who Made Who

29 Smiths – Big Mouth Strikes Again

30 Bananarama – Venus

31 Communards – Disenchanted

32 Big Audio Dynamite – Medicine Show

33 Culture Club – God Thank You Woman

34 Freddie Mercury – Time

35 Bucks Fizz – New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)

36 B-52s – Rock Lobster

37 Owen Paul – My Favourite Waste of Time

38 Falco – Rock Me Amadeus

39 Five Star – Can’t Wait Another Minute

40 Housemartins – Happy Hour