14/10/17 – The Smiths – Death Of A Disco Dancer – 1987

Song Of The Day

Life & Death

Although it would be their last, Strangeways, Here We Come might just have been The Smiths’ best album and although it follows the formula of Morrissey’s words and melodies over Marr’s concise jangle, there’s something different about it sonically – a maturity. A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours opens the album with a piano backing rather than guitar  – although does anyone remember that Reel Around The Fountain, the opening track on the eponymous debut, also heavily featured piano, played by Paul Carrack (Ace, Squeeze, Mike And The Mechanics)?

On Strangeways, Here We Come, it’s as if the band might be heading somewhere else musically in the future but perhaps Morrissey hadn’t wanted to be rushed and pushed there. Like Björk, despite a unique quality, there’s a sense of repeating themselves in their melodies throughout their catalogue. Morrissey’s solo albums have followed a similar pattern in the vocal melodies since The Smiths demise. It’s interesting to note that Hatful Of Hollow, a compilation of BBC recordings and two singles and their b-sides released in November 1984, featured one of their most loved tracks, How Soon Is Now,  singled out more because of Marr’s guitar than Morrissey’s schtick. A single of the song was released in the UK in February 1985. The song was added to the US version of the Smiths’ second studio album proper, Meat Is Murder (1985), opening side two.

As Halloween approaches and continuing the theme of death, Death Of A Disco Dancer might have been about AIDS or perhaps the IRA bombings, but musically it went somewhere else as the band dispensed with their controlled succinct Indie Pop and seemed to actually jam their way to the song’s conclusion – is there something Beatlesy about it? Recorded in Tears For Fears’ studio in Somerset, who themselves found themselves shamelessly aping The Beatles on Sowing The Seeds Of Love (1989) one wonders if this is where the “severed alliance” between Morrissey and Marr began? Marr, perhaps unafraid to experiment and/or display his influences, Morrissey stuck in his self-obsession albeit with his unique lyrical vision.

The death of a disco dancer
Well, it happens a lot ’round here
And if you think peace
Is a common goal
That goes to show
How little you know
The death of a disco dancer
Well, I’d rather not get involved
I never talk to my neighbour
I’d rather not get involved

Love, peace and harmony?
Love, peace and harmony?
Oh, very nice
Very nice
Very nice
Very nice
…But maybe in the next world

The death of a disco dancer
The death of a disco dancer
The death of a disco dancer






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One Response to “14/10/17 – The Smiths – Death Of A Disco Dancer – 1987”

  1. Jed B October 15, 2017 at 7:14 pm #

    Marty. I agree with you that Strangeways was arguably The Smiths’ best album. They were moving a heavier, creative and less-jangly direction on a lot of these tracks – new sonic territory. What a prolific and short career. Perhaps no group other than The Beatles was able to not repeat themselves as well single after single.

    Also it’s cool to hear a Smiths demo. Have not heard too many of those (if any) over the proceeding years.

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