The Queen Is Dead

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Oscar Wilde meets Frankie and goes to Hollywood. In Today’s Runner Johnny Marr’s stellar guitar is stronger than ever complementing Morrissey’s morose dialog to create this sweet and tart book of poetry.  Marr not only has written and arranged all the music here, but he has also taken control of the album’s production, working along side Stephen Street, the band’s recording engineer.

“Don’t forget I’m still only 21. I really do believe that Johnny Marr and The Smiths have many many years ahead of them and plenty of surprises in store. I can never see myself working with anybody else.”

Johnny Marr, Melody Maker, August 1985

That may have been the sentiment as The Smiths went into the studio to begin recording this, their third album, The Queen is Dead, but the ball of yarn had already begun to unravel. On the European and North American Tour in the spring and summer of 1985, the inner circle of the Smiths was showing cracks. Morrissey’s increasingly erratic, callous behavior, was beginning to take toll on the crew, management and other three playing band members. Marr had consistently covered for, and given in to, Morrissey’s wishes up to this point, but the band’s lack of management had made for some bad decisions. Key members of the group’s team were cast aside or under the tour bus. By the time the group entered the studio in late summer, several key members of the inner circle were gone, and the band’s label Rough Trade, the engine for their initial success, had been given its walking papers. Drug problems and litigation between Rough Trade and the band would hold up the release of this record for months, but finally in June of 1986 the Smith’s watershed album hit the stores.

“A dreaded sunny day, so let’s go where we’re wanted and I’ll meet you at the cemetery gates, Keats and Yeats are on your side, but you lose, because where the love of Wilde is on mine”

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