There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

"I remember being in a Pizzaland in Altrincham, giving the waitress my order - yeah, yeah, cheese and tomato, all that - and she said, You know the strings on 'There Is A Light' - is that an emulator or is it played? (Laughs) I was like, Whaaat? Are you fuckin' joking or what? What a fucking question!"

-Mike Joyce


"I think if we'd had a string quartet at the time we would have used it. But the fact that there was a keyboard there at the time... We just made it sound as real as possible."

"I was a bit fucked up, but I also had the worst roadie in the world. Throughout the set, me and Johnny used two tunings: one in F sharp and one in E, 'cos of Morrissey's range. Out of four or five gigs, this guy got it right once. I'd say, Right — There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. Pass me the one in F sharp. He'd pass me the E bass, and I'd be a tone out."

-Andy Rourke


"If we needed some songs fast, then Morrissey would come round to my place and I'd sit there with an acoustic guitar and a cassette recorder. 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' was done that way."

"Morrissey was sat on a coffee table, perched on the edge. I was sat with my guitar on a chair directly in front of him. He had A Sony Walkman recording, waiting to hear what I was gonna pull out. So I said, 'Well, I've got this one' and I started playing these chords. He just looked at me as I was playing. It was as if he daren't speak, in case the spell was broke."

"We recorded 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' in 10 minutes. I went on to add some flute overdub and strings and a couple of extra guitars, but really, the essence and the spirit of it was captured straight away, and that normally means that something's gone really, really right. I have a version of that take with just the three instruments and the voice on it – it absolutely holds up as a beautiful moment in time. The Smiths were all in love with the sound that we were making. We loved it as much as everyone else, but we were lucky enough to be the ones playing it."

"I didn't realise that 'There Is A Light' was going to be an anthem but when we first played it I thought it was the best song I'd ever heard. There's a little in-joke in there just to illustrate how intellectual I was getting. At the time everyone was into the Velvet Underground and they stole the intro to 'There She Goes' - da da da-da, da da-da-da, Dah Dah! - from the Rolling Stones version of 'Hitchhike,' the Marvin Gaye song. I just wanted to put that in to see whether the press would say, Oh it's the Velvet Underground! Cos I knew that I was smarter than that. I was listening to what The Velvet Underground was listening to."


-Johnny Marr



I have found an extended version of the Johnny Marr BBC video that I posted earlier. Here, he plays more of "There is a light" all the way up to the end of a verse, and the sound isn't faded out like it was in the first video. I have to say, this clip gives me chills. It's just so cool to see him up close playing a Smiths song.




This video has a different camera angle, which might be helpful.





Here is Johnny playing it at 7 Worlds Collide, you can also get some good angles of his playing. Thanks go to lordez185 for shooting this video:




Guitar Pro tabs for this song are here(right-click to save). There are 2 different versions of the tab that I've included... one has 7 tracks, one has 3. There is also a tab of Johnny's arpeggio from the BBC segment above, submitted by Mathieu.


Here are the tabs from the Singles book:











Here are the scans from the Smiths Best Complete Score:













Here are the scans from the Complete Chord Dictionary:




Here are the scans from the Queen Is Dead piano book, with guitar chord boxes:









Here is a breadown lesson of the BBC chords and riff by 74949 on youtube:





Here's the evergreen Daniel Earwicker with another spot on cover:




djs1986 gives another multi-instrumental take, inspired by Daniel's version above:




Jahnli does a really nice version here, with a gentle vocal arrangement:




TboneWilson1978 uploaded a cool lesson here:




IrishBog does his take on Johnny's playing from the BBC video:




Here's davidguitarist91 on his Les Paul:




chiasson65 contributes another spot-on bass cover:

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant site, do you have a TAB version of this track?

Thom said...

Yes, there are 2 guitar pro files listed above. You'll need GuitarPro or the demo version to read them, but it's worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Thom; I'll get downloading tonight.

I missed the story of guitar programme as my technology failed me, but the clip of Johnny playing this song is utterly wonderful..

Anonymous said...

Agreed, you've got a great blog going here :P Pleasure to read through the interviews. I fancied checking some of those GuitarPro tabs out, but having a bit of trouble opening them. Got a free trial of Guitar Pro 5 and am saving the files, but they don't seem to readable. Any ideas? Cheers.

Thom said...

The files are RAR archives, like a zipfile. Go to www.rarlab.com/ if you can't read the rar archive. These files contain multiple guitar pro tab files.

Anonymous said...

Made by myself!

http://www.playlist.com/playlist/15074954251

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for hosting this site! These are tabs are amazing. The Smiths are amazing. You are amazing.

Yes, to view the files they need a .rar reader.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add my appreciation for this marvelous site.

claudine said...

Thank you so much for the piano sheets!

Colin said...

Anyone know what effects are used on the guitar sound in that BBC clip ? I don't see how you get it with just chorus + reverb. It sounds almost like a 12 string but it isn't.

And indeed, this is a great site, thanks very much for maintaining it !

Thom said...

Colin, many people say they can hear a digital pitch shifter, creating an upper octave effect.

edmclaughlin said...

THIS SITE IS FANTASTIC MATE,IVE BEEN TRYING TO FIGURE OUT MARRS STUFF FOR YEARS AND EVERY BIT HELPS EVEN IF YOU DECIDE YOUR WAY SOUNDS BETTER AFTER ALL,BUT BRILLIANT,MY ALL TIME FAVE MUSICIAN AND HES A BLOODY NICE BLOKE AS WELL,AND YOU SIR ARE A VERY COOL GUY,THANK YOU.I ALWAYS FIND THE MIDDLE BIT IN ''HEADMASTER RITUAL''HARD TO MASTER,NOT THE PICKY BIT ITS THE SUBTLE CHORD CHANGE AFTER THET BIT THAT GETS ME''sir thwacks you on the..'any suggestions?

edmclaughlin said...

JINTHIS SITE IS FANTASTIC MATE,IVE BEEN TRYING TO FIGURE OUT MARRS STUFF FOR YEARS AND EVERY BIT HELPS EVEN IF YOU DECIDE YOUR WAY SOUNDS BETTER AFTER ALL,BUT BRILLIANT,MY ALL TIME FAVE MUSICIAN AND HES A BLOODY NICE BLOKE AS WELL,AND YOU SIR ARE A VERY COOL GUY,THANK YOU.I ALWAYS FIND THE MIDDLE BIT IN ''HEADMASTER RITUAL''HARD TO MASTER,NOT THE PICKY BIT ITS THE SUBTLE CHORD CHANGE AFTER THET BIT THAT GETS ME''sir thwacks you on the..'any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

These BBC videos are awesome. Man I wish i could reproduce that tone. I'm assuming this is a chorus ensemble, right? Anybody know exactly what J. is using there and what settings. Better yet a fractal axe patch?

Adam Richards said...

Does anyone have a tab version of Johnny playing 'There is a Light' on The Story of The Guitar please? Adam (you can find me on Facebook, Adam Richards, from Sutton Coldfield or Twitter @vehiclestracked

Adam Richards said...

Does anyone have a tab version of Johnny playing 'There is a Light' on The Story of The Guitar please? Adam (you can find me on Facebook, Adam Richards, from Sutton Coldfield or Twitter @vehiclestracked

Ps, I met Johnny last week after a Healers gig in Manchester. What a top gent.

Thom said...

Adam, there is a guitar pro for the BBC version in the download above, on this page.

Akapella said...

I can not even begin to thank you enough for this brilliant blog. Marr is undoubtedly my biggest influence and the reason I wield a guitar these days. Hopefully this site will get more people playing music like this. Thanks again for this mate, you are beyond awesome!!!

Ryan Deegan said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1jBwFac72g&feature=related

You can see his hands the whole way through this - could be useful!

Frederic Dhont said...

This site is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT !!! Thanks for all the hard work; I suddenly remember why I started playing the guitar 30 years ago!

Unknown said...

There's another version here from Coachinella. You can see his fingering all the way through, which is handy, and he does a couple of variations

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlutjWQbfLw

Unknown said...

There's another rendition of this song here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlutjWQbfLw

You can see the chord fingering quite clearly.

simon zoppi said...

Great site, it's helped me so much to learn some of Johnny's guitar parts, I've had a go at the Arpeggio part at the end of There Is A Light, not perfect but somewhere near!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eptfw1K4yJw&feature=youtube_gdata_player