top of page

The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead

"The Queen Is Dead", The Smiths' third album, was released on June 16, 1986, and it still blows our minds today as it did more than 30 years ago.

So here are 30 facts about this excellent and groundbreaking album:

1. Guitarist Johnny Marr and singer Morrissey wanted Tony Visconti - known for his work with David Bowie - to produce the album, but he refused. In 2006 he will produce Morrissey's solo album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors".

2. The band also turned to legendary producer George Martin to produce the album, but he also refused because he wanted to be kept in mind as "The Beatles" producer.

3. The song "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" that appears on the album, is actually a demo version, but Morrissey thought it could not be surpassed.

4. In 2003 Morrissey crowned this song as his Smiths' favorite song.

5. The name of the album was supposed to be "Margaret On The Guillotine", the name would become one of Morrissey's songs on the album "Viva Hate", from 1988.

6. Johnny Marr's parents thought the name of the album was disrespectful to the Queen of England and so he asked Morrissey to change the name to "Bigmouth Strikes Again", but Morrissey refused.

7. The character that appears on the album cover is of actor James Dean.

8. The cover was designed by Morrissey, inspired by a picture from the French film "L 'Insoumis" from 1964 starring Alan Delon.

9. Before James Dean was selected, Morrissey asked actors Alan Bates and Albert Finney to appear on the album cover, but they refused.

10. Footballer George Best also refused to appear on the cover of the single "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side".

11. The credit for the background vocals in the song "Bigmouth Strikes Again" was given to Ann Coates, but in fact, it is Morrissey's voice in a higher pitch. The name is a reference to the "Ancoats" district of Manchester. The name of the neighborhood will also appear later on the sign on the back of the album "Strangeways Here We Come".

12. While recording the album, "Status Quo" was recording the album "In The Army Now" in the next studio. The band seriously considered inviting them to be a guest on the album.

13. The album failed to reach number one on the UK charts due to Genesis' "Invisible Touch" album.

14. Johnny Marr's guitar roles in the theme song were influenced by "The Velvet Underground's" "I Can't Stand It".

15. The lyrics to the song "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" were influenced by the British comedy "Carry On Cleo" from 1964, starring the actor Charles Hawtrey. Charles will later appear on the cover of the 2001 compilation album "The Very Best of The Smiths".

16. "The Smiths" performed this song only once live, at Brixton Academic in 1986. In the same performance, Morrissey added another verse to the song.

17. The fade in and out in the opening of the song was intentional. The technician Stephen Street wanted it to be heard from the side of a man who opens the studio door and is exposed to the music, closes it and opens it again, and only then enters the room.

18. At the time of recording the album, bassist Andy Rourke was deeply immersed in heroin. Given his condition, the band members added Craig Gannon as their temporary replacement. After Andy regained his strength, Craig moved from bass to play rhythm guitar and the band's first performance as a quintet was held on May 20, 1986.

19. The lyrics of the song "Cemetry Gates" were influenced by the movie "The Man Who Came To Dinner", by Katharine Hepburn.

20. Morrissey did not want the song "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" to appear on the album. How lucky Johnny Marr resisted.

21. The lyrics are based on the song "Lonely Planet Boy" by "the New York Dolls".

22. The mesmerizing string sound in the song is performed by Johnny Marr through a sampler, but those who got credit for it were the imaginary "Hated Salford Ensemble".

23. The Scottish writer Irvine Welsh would use the title of the song "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" for one of the chapters in his first book - "Trainspotting", which would later become a famous film.

24. For playing the piano in the song "Frankly, Mr. Shankly" the band members invited Linda McCartney, the wife of ... she refused.

25. The lyrics "So I broke into the Palace / with a sponge and a rusty spanner" from the theme song, are based on a real case from 1982 in which Michael Fagin broke into Buckingham Palace and talked to the Queen.

26. The drums in the theme song were recorded in two different sessions. The cymbals and tam-tam in one session and the bass drum and snare in another session.

27. The name of the album was the first short story on which the American writer Hubert Selby Jr. based the book "Last Exit to Brooklyn".

28. The album appears in the "Rolling Stone" magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums.

29. In 2013 it was voted by NME Magazine as the best album of all time.

30. Even so, if you ask Morrissey and Marr, they will say they like the album "Strangeways Here We Come" more.

For Listening: Spotify, Apple Music

Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page