Showing posts with label "The Queen Is Dead". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "The Queen Is Dead". Show all posts

The Queen Is Dead

"I'd done the rhythm track for The Queen Is Dead, and left the guitar on the stand. The wah pedal just happened to be half open, and putting the guitar down made the guitar suddenly hit off this harmonic. We were back at the desk playing back the rhythm track and I could still hear this harmonic wailing away, so we put the tape back onto record while I crept back into the booth and started opening up the wah-wah, thinking 'Don't die, don't die!' Eventually I opened up the pedal, and 'Wooooohhhhhh!' Kept it going, too. Great accident.

For the frenzied wah-wah section on 'The Queen Is Dead,' I was thinking '60s Detroit, like the MC5 and the Stooges.

The album's title track was partly inspired by The MC5 and The Velvet Underground. A Velvets outtakes album called V.U. had just come out, and I loved 'I Can't Stand It', mostly because it had this swinging R&B guitar. I'd wanted to do something bombastic like that for a while, and 'The Queen Is Dead' was the right place to drop it.

I had The Queen Is Dead, the track, in my mind for a long time. I knew the song had the title, and I knew that was what the album was going to be called. To me, it was the MC5 playing 'I Can't Stand It'. I'd always felt let down by the MC5. When I was younger, people were going 'Oh, the Dolls, the MC5, the Stooges' -but when I first heard the MC5, it felt a little too gung-ho, too kind of testosterone-mad for me. I wanted to deliver what I imagined the MC5 to be - energy, coolness.

It was Morrissey's idea to include 'Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty' and he said, 'I want this on the track'. But he wasn't to know that I was going to lead into the feedback and drum rolls. It was just a piece of magic. I got the drum riff going and Andy got the bass line, which was one of his best ever and one that bass players still haven't matched. I went in there with all the lads watching and did the take and they just went, 'Wow'. I came out and I was shaking. When I suggested doing it again, they just said, 'No way! No way!' What happened with the feedback was I was setting my guitar up for the track and I put it onto a stand and it was really loud. Where it hit the stand, it made that note of feedback. I did the guitar track, put the guitar on the stand, and while we were talking, it was like, 'Wow, that sounded good'. So I said, 'Right - record that!' It was going through a wah-wah from the previous take, so I just started moving the wah-wah and it was getting all these different intervals, and it definitely added a real tension.

I loved Morrissey's singing on that, and the words. But it was very MC5. Morrissey has a real love for that music as well. I remember him playing the Ramones as much as he played Sandie Shaw.

The record company want to put out some rarities, so we’ve spoken about the longer versions of The Queen is Dead: the eight-minute one and another one where we played for 12 minutes. It sounds like Can or something.

The song 'The Queen Is Dead' I really like. I used to like the MC5 and The Stooges and it's as good if not better than anything The Stooges ever did. It's got energy and aggression in that kind of garagey way.

Using Dame Cicely Courtneidge's voice at the top of that track was Morrissey's idea, but it was also very apt for The Smiths collectively. We were all fans of classic British films like The L-Shaped Room, A Taste Of Honey and Hobson's Choice. The aesthetic of those movies was a huge source of inspiration, feeding into our music and artwork. Morrissey's never really been given full credit for that."

- Johnny Marr

Here are the scans from the Complete Chord Dictionary:

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

Daniel Earwicker does an awesome cover on bass, drums and guitar:

maudit80 does a cool version of the bass part:

Frankly Mr. Shankly

"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, and so was 'Frankly Mr Shankly'."

"Another talking point is the lyric for 'Frankly, Mr Shankly.' At the time Morrissey didn't say anything about it being a dig at Geoff Travis and his bad poetry, but even if he had done, I wouldn't have cared. As I recall, a couple of people at the label said, 'Tut! Tut! Somebody's not very pleased with you boys.'"

"Lyrically it was supposed to be about Geoff Travis. I don’t know whether it is or not. All I can tell you is that it was part of three songs that I wrote all in the same night, alongside 'I Know It’s Over' and 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out'. Morrissey sent Linda McCartney a postcard and we got a polite reply saying she couldn’t do it. We were ready for her to come and to sing and play keyboards on it. I wish it had happened."

- Johnny Marr

I have posted a guitar Pro tab here.

Here are the scans from the Complete Chord Dictionary:

Here are the scans from the Queen Is Dead songbook:

Awesome guitar version by nicknoh69:

Another stunning rendition by johnnymare:

Here's sonofdrcross with Rourke's bass part:

Cemetry Gates

"When we signed with Rough Trade we were being hailed as The Great New Songwriters, and I was on the train coming back thinking, "Right, if you're so great - first thing in the morning, sit down and write A Great Song." I started with Cemetry Gates' Bm to G change in open G."

- Johnny Marr

I don't have a Guitar Pro tab for this song yet, but here are the scans from the Queen Is Dead piano songbook with guitar chord boxes:

Here's a great multitracked version from Daniel Earwicker:

kfb76 does a cool acoustic cover, in standard tuning:

sonofdrcross nails the bass part, as usual:

Vicar In A Tutu

"'Johnny had this riff, where he and Morrissey had worked on it I don't know, but Morrissey's looking through the window and we're playing away there and Mozz is going [look of extreme satisfaction]. Yep, again, again, yep, this is it, this is the one. But that song's all over the place, all over the place."

- Mike Joyce

Here are the scans from the Complete Chord Dictionary:

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

sonofdrcross does a great version:

Here's cdwheel with a friend on rhythm guitar:

Never Had No One Ever

"On The Queen Is Dead, 'Never Had No One Ever', there's a line that goes 'When you walk without ease/on these/the very streets where you were raised/I had a really bad dream/it lasted 20 years, seven months and 27 days/Never had no one ever'. It was the frustration that I felt at the age of 20 when I still didn't feel easy walking around the streets on which I'd been born, where all my family had lived - they're originally from Ireland but had been here since the Fifties. It was a constant confusion to me why I never really felt 'This is my patch. This is my home. I know these people. I can do what I like, because this is mine.' It never was. I could never walk easily."

- Morrissey

"I can never divorce that song from the emotion that inspired it, which is totally personal. It goes back to what I was saying before about where the sadness comes from. It's me, being in my bedroom, living on a housing estate, on a dark night, surrounded by all that concrete and trying to find some beauty through Raw Power and James Williamson. There's a certain kind of gothic beauty in 'I Need Somebody'. I wasn't looking to cop a riff; I was looking to cop a feeling. The atmosphere of 'Never Had No One Ever', and pretty much the whole LP, for everything that can be said about the pressure I was under at the time as Johnny in The Smiths in '85, really that music could have come out of my bedroom when I was 16."

"We had no manager, so me and Morrissey were trying to run the whole band, plus we were still on an independent label, but out of all that adversity we still managed to make this great album. A song like 'Never Had No One Ever' could only have come out of that mindset - fucked-up."

- Johnny Marr

I don't have any good tabs for this song at the moment. I have heard that it is possibly in an open tuning, but I'm not sure which one. If you have any ideas, let me know.

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

There are no youtube covers of this one out there at the moment. Here are The Smiths at Nottingham:

and at Salford:

Although the first video is from stage left, behind the guitarists, one thing I noticed in both videos is how in the pre-chorus, Johnny bends a note by detuning his guitar with the tuning peg. Awesome.

I Know It's Over

"I'll never forget when [Morrissey] did that. It's one of the highlights of my life. It was that good, that strong. Every line he was hinting at where he was going to go. I was thinking, 'Is he going to go there? Yes, he is!' It was just brilliant."

- Johnny Marr

I have uploaded a Guitar Pro tab file here.

Here are the scans from the Complete Chord Dictionary:

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

pljnr does a spot perfect rendition here, with his own backing track. He also includes the chords he's using in his Youtube annotations, which is nice:

Here's a great bass cover by orestes3009:

The Boy With The Thorn In His Side

"After that I started getting turned on to Chic, The Fatback Band, The Ohio Players and War. If you listen to 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side', the rhythm part from verse two onwards - that chick-a-chick part - it's pure Nile Rogers.

That was the first time I used a Strat on a record. I got it because I wanted a twangy Hank Marvin sound, but it ended up sounding quite highlify.

Will the new stuff be radically different? Yes. There is the single which will probably be 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' and then the album which we have pretty much got in hand and which will undoubtedly shock a lot of people. Well, let's hope so. From a purely personal point of view there will be a move away from the old jingly-jangly guitars of old. Everyone knows I can do that.

'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' is about us. Well, Morrissey specifically. The thorn is the music industry. If you listen to the words, 'how can they hear me say those words and still they don't believe me'... By the time we'd written that song, we'd been put down so much for our beliefs, in the music industry, we'd been put down for all these things that we said were dead. And then we did 'The Boy...' and it was a real pleasure that people who were actually responsible - people who were the 'thorns' in our side - were actually buying this record and championing it in the music industry. It's about all the bigotry and idiocy in the music business really. And how a lot of people who are in a responsible position actually don't know squat."

- Johnny Marr

I have uploaded two Guitar Pro tabs here:

Here is a tab from the Play Guitar With The Smiths book:

I have uploaded the accompanying backing tracks here(right click to save).

Here are the scans from the Singles tab 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 songbook with guitar chords:

Jahnli does a great version on acoustic 12 string, using a capo at the 5th fret. I don't know if this is exactly how Marr played it, but it sounds really similar. He also posted the chords he used in the comments section on Youtube:

D Am7
G Am
D Am7 C D

G Am D
Am7 C D
G Am D
Am7 C

D G Am D
Am7 C
D G Am D
C D C D C D C Cmaj7 Dsus4 C D

Another great version from KintrickPinch:

Here's Oscar80It:

Here's nicknoh69:

Here's johnnymare:

Here's dhowellbassist:

Here's davidguitarist91 on his Les Paul: