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"The Smiths", album, 1983, The Smiths


Released in 1984, The Smiths' eponymous debut album was eagerly awaited by those who had become followers of the odd quartet. Despite some excellent songwriting, the production was strangely leaden, although it certainly has a charm of its own.

Morrissey said on its release "I think it's a signal post in music". The original version did not have "This Charming Man" on it, but still provided an excellent if fairly young view of The Smiths and their music. The album starts off with the drum intro of the sublime "Reel Around The Fountain" and ends, after highs and lows of sincere beauty, with the infamous track "Suffer Little Children", which, of course, was the centrepiece of the Moors Murderers "scandal".

This album was originally produced by Troy Tate, and entitled The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. The Smiths were understandably unhappy with the production, and insisted on re-recording the album. They booked a studio for two weeks to re-record the songs with John Porter, whom they had recently worked with recording BBC sessions, and layed down the tracks which appear on this album on a shoe-string budget of 20,000.

The production, although easily criticised, seemed to bring Morrissey's voice into a more personal light; a good example being the haunting "Suffer Little Children".


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REEL AROUND THE FOUNTAIN

It's time the tale was told
of how you took a child
and you made him old
Reel around the fountain
slap me on the patio
I'll take it now
Fifteen minutes with you
well, I wouldn't say no
people said that you were virtually dead
and they were so wrong
fifteen minutes with you
well, i wouldn't say no
people said that you were easily led
and they were half-right
I dreamt about you last night
and i fell out of bed twice
you can pin and mount me like a butterfly
but take me to the haven of your bed
was something that you never said
two lumps, please
you're the bee's knees
but so am I
Meet me at the fountain
shove me on the patio
I'll take it slowly
Fifteen minutes with you
oh I wouldn't say no
people see no worth in you
oh but I do

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YOU'VE GOT EVERYTHING NOW

As merry as the days were long
I was right and you were wrong
back at the old grey school
I would win and you would lose
But you've got everything now
and what a terrible mess I've made of my life
No, I've never had a job
because I've never wanted one
I've seen you smile
but I've never really heard you laugh
So who is rich and who is poor?
I cannot say...
You are your mother's only son
and you're a desperate one
But I don't want a lover
I just want to be seen in the back of your car
A friendship sadly lost?
Well, this is true ...and yet, it's false
Did I ever tell you , by the way
I never did like your face
But you've got everything now
and what a terrible mess I've made of my life
No, I've never had a job
because I'm too shy
But I don't want a lover
I just want to be tied to the back of your car.

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MISERABLE LIE

So, goodbye
please stay with your own kind
and I'll stay with mine
There's something against us
it's not time
So, goodbye
I know I hardly say
how much I love your casual way
but please put your tongue away
a little higher and we're well away
the dark nights are drawing in
and your humour is as black as them
I look at yours, you laugh at mine
and"love" is just a miserable lie
you have destroyed my flower like-life
not once-but twice
you have corrupt my innocent mind
not once-but twice
I know that wind-swept mystical air
it means: I'd like to see your underwear
I recognise that mystical air
it means: I'd like to see your underwear
what do we get for the trouble and pain?
just a rented room in Whalley Range
into the depths of the criminal world
I followed her...
I need advice, I need advice
because nobody ever looks at me twice
I'm just a country-mile behind
the world
I'm just a country mile behind
the whole world
so take me when you go

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PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES

Upon the sand,upon the bay
"there is a quick and easy way" you say
before you illustrate
I'd rather state:
"I'm not the man you think I am
I'm not the man you think I am "
And Sorrow's native son
he will not smile for anyone
And pretty girls makes the graves
End of the pier, end of the bay
you tug my arm and say:"Give into lust,
give up to lust, oh heaven knows we'll
soon be dust..."
But I'm not the man you think I am
I'm not the man you think I am
And Sorrow's native son
he will not rise for anyone
And pretty girls make graves
I could have been wild and I could have been free
but Nature played this trick on me
She wants it Now
and she will not wait
but she's too rough
and I'm too delicate
Then on the sand
another man, he takes her hand
and a smile lights up her stupid face
(and well, it would)
I lost my faith in Womanhood
I lost my faith in Womanhood, I lost my faith

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THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE

Please don't cry
the ghost and the storm outside
will not invade this sacred shire
nor infiltrate your mind
my life down I shall lie
if the bogey-man should try
to play tricks on your sacred mind
to tease, torment and tantalise
wavering shadows loom
a piano plays in an empty room
there'll be blood on the cleaver tonight
when darkness lifts and the room is bright
I'll still be by your side
for you are all that matters
and I'll love you till the day I die
there never need to be longing in your eyes
as long as the hand that rocks the cradle is mine
ceiling shadows shimmy by
and when the wardrobe towers like a beast of prey
there's a sadness in your beautiful eyes
you're untouched, unsoiled, wonderous eyes
my life down I shall lie
should restless spirts try
to play tricks on you sacred mind
but whom I never gave a name
I just looked into his wonderous eyes
and said" never never never again"
all too soon I did return
just like a moth to a flame
so rattle my bones all over the stones
because I'm only a beggar-man whom nobody owns
see how words as old as sin
fit me like a glove I'm here and here I'll stay
together we lie, together we pray
there never need be longing in your eyes
as long as the hand that rocks the cradle is mine

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STILL ILL

I decree today that life
is simply taking and not giving
England is mine and it owes me a living
ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye
ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye
but we cannot cling to the old dreams anymore
no, we cannot cling to the old dreams anymore
Does the body rule the mind
or does the mind rule the body?
I dunno...
Under the iron bridge we kissed
and although I ended up with sore lips
it just wasn't like the old days anymore
no, it wasn't like those days
am I still ill?
Does the body rule the mind
or does the mind rule the body ?
I dunno...
Ask me why, and I'll die
ask me why, and I'll die
and if you must go to work tomorrow
well, if I were you I wouldn't bother
for there are brighter sides to life
and I should know because I've seen them
but not very often...
under the iron bridge we kissed
and although I ended up with sore lips
it just wasn't like the old days anymore
no, it wasn't like those days
am I still ill?

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HAND IN GLOVE

Hand in glove
the sun shines out of our behinds
no, it's not like any other love
this one is different-because it's us
Hand in glove
we can go wherever we please
and everything depends upon
how near you stand to me
And if the people stare
then the people stare
I really don't know and I really don't care
Hand in glove
the Good People laugh
yes, we may be hidden by rags
but we have something they'll never have
So, hand in glove I stake my claim
I'll fight to the last breath
If they dare touch a hair on your head
I'll fight to the last breath
The Good Life is out there, somewhere
so stay on my arm, you little charmer
But I know my luck too well
and I'll probably never see you again.

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WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

All men have secrets and here is mine
so let it be known
we have been through hell and high tide,
I can surely rely on you?
and yet you start to recoil,
heavy words are so lightly thrown
but still I'd leap in front of a flying bullet for you
So, what difference does it make?
so, what difference does it make?
it makes none
but you have gone
and you must be looking very old tonight
The devil will find work for idle hands to do
I stole and I lied, and why?
because you asked me to!
but now you make feel so ashamed
because I've only got two hands
well, I'm still fond of you
So, what difference does it make?
so, what difference does it make?
it makes none
but you have gone
and your prejudice won't keep you warm tonight
So, no more apologies
no more apologies
I'm too tired
I'm too sick and tired
and I'm feeling very sick and ill today
But I'm still fond of you

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I DON'T OWE YOU ANYTHING

Bought on stolen wine
a nod was the first step
you know very well
what was coming next
did I really walk all this way
just to hear you say
"oh I don't want to go out tonight"
but you will
for you must
I don't owe you anything
but you owe me something
repay me now
you should never go to them
let them come to you
just like I do
you should not go to them
let them come to you
just like I do
Too freely on your lips
words prematurely said
oh but I know what will make you smile tonight
Life is never kind
life is never kind
oh but I know what will make you smile tonight

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SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN

Over the moors,take me to the moors
dig a shallow grave
and I'll lay me down
Lesley-Anne, with your pretty white beads
oh John, you'll never be a man
and you'll never see your home again
oh Manchester, so much to answer for
Edward, see those alluring lights?
tonight will be your very last night
a woman said "I know my son is dead
I'll never rest my hands on his scared head"
Hindley wakes and Hindley says:
"Wherever he has gone, I have gone "
But fresh lilaced moorland fields
cannot hide the stoild stench of death
Hindley wakes and Hindley says:
"Whatever he has done, I have done"
But this is no easy ride
for a child cries
"find me...find me, nothing more
we're on a sullen misty moor
we may be dead and we may be gone
but we will be right by your side
until the day you die
this is no easy ride
we will haunt you when you laugh
yes, you could say we're a team
you might sleep
BUT YOU WILL NEVER DREAM!"
Oh Manchester, so much to answer for
Oh Manchester, so much to answer for
Over the moor, I'm on the moor
the child is on the moor

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Other albums with all songs and lyrics:

The Smiths: Morrissey:

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This Page was created by David Rapava
22 May 1998