Saturday, 8 March 2014

These Things Take Time - 30 years on from 'The Smiths'

I read that The Smiths debut album is 30 years old, the article said that it emerged as a classic. As a huge fan of The Smiths at the time I was actually disappointed. The singles and the John Peel sessions had been brilliant. By then I had also seen their incendiary live show three or four times. Compared to that the album sounded a bit damp, well in fact very damp. I recall a few reviews at the time saying the same. It wasn't until The Queen is Dead that for me they produced an album that was worthy of the description 'classic'. They still banged out great singles ( and b sides) but Morrissey's huge presence can't disguise the fact that Meat is Murder is short of their best. Hatful of Hollow was great but it was what it said it was, a compilation of Radio 1 sessions and out takes. 

The Queen is Dead was something of a relief, they had finally managed to capture their essence on a studio album. But seeing them live on the tour that supported it kind of closed the book for me. They were no longer the band I had seem at North East London Poly or the Electric Ballroom ( a wonderful gig that I will write about sometime). They had been a shared secret, they were now stars and the audience worshiped at their feet. Morrissey was a celebrity and that arch faux controversial character we see now had emerged and taken shape.  Some of us called for Handsome Devil to be dismissed us with 'we haven't played that for years.' They were no longer my band and I was no longer their crowd.