In the Sixties records were actually worth something. People went out and bought a seven inch piece of plastic and they treasured it, which they don’t seem to do any more. We’re trying to bring back that precious element.
Johnny Marr, Sounds, November 1983
By 1984 The Smiths, who had been releasing 7 and 12 inch singles as quickly as they had been writing and recording them, had accumulated a large amount of songs. One in particular was unlike anything they had written to date. Marr, Rourke and Joyce had been working on an experimental demo titled Swamp in the studio san Morrissey. It was built around a solid strummed riff, slowed chord progression, accompanied by multiple ambient drum and bass. A high note arpeggio, from Marr’s guitar, heard at the end of each verse created the melody. Once the Morrissey penned lyrics were added, The Smiths had created something distinct and entirely unparalleled.
How Soon is Now?
Hatful Of Hollow, much like Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, is a compilation of non album b-sides along with the 1983 Peel and Jensen session recordings of songs that appeared on their debut album. Many think, myself included, that these earlier recordings like Reel Around the Fountain, Handsome Devil and, Still Ill are superior to the album version, and capture the initial energy and spark of the bands first kiss. This compilation also enabled them to strike a second time while the iron was still hot. The mix of new and old recordings all in one place and reasonably priced (at a time in the UK when unemployment was at a record high of 12%) came out just in time for Christmas.