"The Queen Is Dead" - about the legendary album by The Smiths

Telling the story of the iconic "Dead Queen" by The Smiths...

History of the album "The Queen Is Dead" by The Smiths

The Queen Is Dead - the third studio album by the British The Smiths. It was released in June 1986 year - more 30 years ago! The album stayed on the UK charts. 22 weeks, taking second place. She also entered the American Billboard 200 and became gold at the beginning of the new decade ... Many years later, The Queen Is Dead entered the list of Rolling Stone magazine "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time", and NME magazine called this album greatest in history... But what is his own history? Let's find out together!


The Smiths at the hotel
The Smiths at the hotel

History The Queen Is Dead starts in the middle 80s years when Smiths toured the UK: it was then that the guitarist Johnny Marr wrote the music for several songs that later appeared on the album ... The title of the record was inspired by the novel Hubert Selby Jr. "Last Exit to Brooklyn". The cover was decorated by a French actor Alain Delon: a frame from the movie was selected by the group 1964 of the year "Insumi".

Produced by Marr himself, vocalist Morrisseyand also an engineer Stephen Street. Concerning Marra, then in his words - a huge influence on him at that time was Stooges, Velvet Underground, as well as Detroit garage rock. By the way: at that time the group had problems with the Rough Trade record label. But, fortunately, this did not prevent the Smiths from recording a first-class record!

“The three of us had a great, very warm working relationship. We were about the same age, and were into similar things… In the studio, we felt as relaxed and comfortable as possible!” Street later recalled.


The Smiths
The Smiths

The first song recorded for "Dead Queen", became "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side": initially the track was conceived as a demo, but soon all the participants of the recording considered it to be a great single! And they did not lose: after the release in September of the same year, it reached 23rd positions in UK Singles Chart! Pretty good result… The Smiths soon recorded "Bigmouth Strikes Again" and "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Other". In general - most of the album was recorded in winter 1985 years at Jacob Studios in Farnham: the record then had the working title Margaret on the Guillotine. The self-titled "The Queen Is Dead" was one of the last songs recorded for the album... And for Frankly, Mr. Shankly Smiths asked Linda McCartney to play the piano, but she refused, and the first double with the trumpeter was canceled ...

The Queen is Dead Musical album – The Smiths
The Queen is Dead Musical album – The Smiths

Release and critical reception

The Queen Is Dead released in June 1986 of the year. Despite the fact that commercial success was moderate, the album still became an international hit! It did not leave the European chart for 22 weeks, and at the beginning 90s became gold in the United States ... According to Marra, single "Bigmouth Strikes Again", leading up to the release of the record, was supposed to let the fans know that the Smiths are here again!

The critics were favorable. Some noted that The Queen Is Dead "represents everything that is admirable and at the same time annoying in British new music", others even called this record the best of its kind for the period 80s years ... Interest in The Queen Is Dead did not fade even decades later: for example, in 2006, the magazine NME called it "the greatest British album in history ..." List all the credits and lists that included The Queen Is Dead, is possible ad infinitum. But what's the point, if it's so obvious: this is an album you can get lost in... It has depth, focus and at least some great melodies! It's easy to see why this album is so highly regarded by The Smiths fans...


Total album included 10 tracks. Opening the list is a song of the same name based on a song that Marr started writing as a teenager... "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" was written as a light piece while on tour in the spring of 1985. Lyric refers to experience Smiths in the music business… Track "Cemetry Gates" became a late addition to the album. Remarkable, but at first Marr did not believe that the guitar part was interesting enough to develop it, however Morrissey did not agree with this (fortunately).

"The Queen Is Dead"

Frankly, Mr. Shankly"

"I Know It's Over"

"Never Had No One Ever"

"Cemetry Gates"

"Bigmouth Strikes Again"

"The Boy with the Thorn in His Side"

"Vicar in a Tutu"

"There Is a Light That Never Goes Out"

"Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others"


The Smiths outside the Salford Lads Club. Photo: Stephen Wright
The Smiths outside the Salford Lads Club. Photo: Stephen Wright

Masterpiece Smiths 1986 of the year is still a lasting testament to 80s Britpop, the complex relationship between performer and fan, and the ecstasy of emptiness ... Certainly: without wit and strange visions Morrissey would not be The Queen Is Dead, absolutely - how would this legendary album not exist without the beauty brought to work Marr… It is a pity that the two subsequently parted ways for reasons that are still not fully explained. These two geniuses are made for each other - and of course, deep down they still know it...


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