is included

The Queen Is Dead

The Queen Is Dead is the third studio album by the English rock band The Smiths. It was released on 16 June 1986 in the United Kingdom by Rough Trade Records, and reached number two in the British charts. Sire Records released the album in the United States on 23 June 1986. The album reached number 2 on the UK charts and number 70 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Gold by the RIAA on 09/19/1990.

Background and recording

Guitarist Johnny Marr wrote several songs that would later appear on The Queen Is Dead while The Smiths toured Britain in early 1985, working out song arrangements with bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce during soundchecks. After releasing their September 1985 single, "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" (which is included on The Queen Is Dead in an updated, slightly re-mixed version), The Smiths turned to recording their third album. Marr produced the album with singer Morrissey, and worked with engineer Stephen Street, who had assumed the same role on the band's previous album, Meat Is Murder (1985). Street recalled, "Morrissey, Johnny and I had a really good working relationship — we were all roughly the same age and into the same kind of things, so everyone felt quite relaxed in the studio".

At the time the group was having difficulty with their label Rough Trade, which Street characterised as "Rough Trade and EMI trying to sign up everything". Street noted, "[B]ut this didn't get in the way of recording because the atmosphere in the studio was very, very constructive." The group recorded "Bigmouth Strikes Again" and "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" at RAK Studios in northwest London. After a brief tour, the group recorded and mixed the majority of the album at Jacobs Studios in Farnham, Surrey, during late 1985 and early 1986.


The Queen Is Dead, finally emerged half a year late, in June 1986, and was previewed by the May single release of "Bigmouth Strikes Again", strictly speaking the only single taken from the album. Many encouraged the band to release "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" as a single, but Johnny Marr is said to have wanted an explosive, searing single, along the lines of The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash", to announce that The Smiths had returned from hiatus. It did not fare as well as expected, stalling at number 26 on the British charts.

The album is popularly regarded as The Smiths' best album. With its unique blend of musical styles (including jangle pop, British Invasion, rockabilly and punk rock), it quickly became a British sensation and established The Smiths as one of the biggest bands of its era. Both Morrissey and Marr disagree, however, citing its 1987 successor (and unexpectedly final Smiths LP), Strangeways, Here We Come, as their peak.


Rolling Stone gave the album a five star rating. Reviewer Mark Coleman remarked on Morrissey's sense of humour and singled out the singer's performance on "Cemetry Gates" as a highlight. Coleman concluded, "Like it or not, this guy's going to be around for a while. In 2000, Mojo magazine placed 'There is a Light that Never Goes Out' at number 25 on their list of the 100 greatest songs of all time. In 2003, The Queen Is Dead was ranked number 216 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


The song "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out", was a contender for lead single off the album, but was passed over in favour of "Bigmouth Strikes Again". (Later in 1986 it was released as a 7"-only single in France.) It received a belated release in 1992, when it became one of WEA's singles in a programme to promote Smiths re-releases (see the entry on ...Best II).

"Cemetry Gates" was Morrissey's direct response to critics who had cried foul over his use of texts written by some of his favorite authors, notably Shelagh Delaney and Elizabeth Smart. Oscar Wilde, who was also accused of plagiarism, figures as a patron saint of Morrissey's in the song's lyrics. A Wilde quote, "Talent borrows, genius steals", was etched in the vinyl run-out grooves of the first single off the album, "Bigmouth Strikes Again".

"The Queen Is Dead", which leads off the album, starts with a soundbite from Bryan Forbes' 1962 British film The L-Shaped Room. Another instance of Morrissey's fascination with Sixties British cinema, the film, which featured performances by Cicely Courtneidge and Pat Phoenix (who had already appeared as a cover star on the 1985 single "Shakespeare's Sister"), contains a poignant scene in which a group of homesick Britons living in France sing "Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty". The song was also notable for an expressionistic music video directed by Derek Jarman.

According to Johnny Marr (as recounted by Smiths biographers Johnny Rogan and Simon Goddard), vocals for "I Know It's Over" were recorded in one take.

A few songs, including "The Queen Is Dead" and "Bigmouth Strikes Again", feature pitch-shifted backing vocals by Morrissey. The singer liked to experiment with effects on his voice, so Street ran his voice through a harmoniser for the backing tracks. Street recalled, "At that time, apart from the harmoniser, he didn't go for much backing vocal or harmony work — he's done that more on recent albums — but he did like to experiment". The backing vocals are attributed to "Ann Coates" on the record sleeve (Ancoats is a district in Manchester, just North East of the city centre).


The album cover of The Queen Is Dead, designed by Morrissey, features Alain Delon from the 1964 film L'Insoumis.

Track listing

All songs written by Morrissey and Johnny Marr, except "Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty" (used as an intro to "The Queen Is Dead"), written by A.J. Mills, Fred Godfrey and Bennett Scott.

  1. "The Queen Is Dead" – 6:24
  2. "Frankly, Mr Shankly" – 2:17
  3. "I Know It's Over" – 5:48
  4. "Never Had No One Ever" – 3:36
  5. "Cemetry Gates" – 2:39
  6. "Bigmouth Strikes Again" – 3:12
  7. "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" – 3:15
  8. "Vicar in a Tutu" – 2:21
  9. "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" – 4:02
  10. "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" – 3:14




  • Weisbard, Eric; Craig Marks (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books.

Search another word or see is includedon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature