Music today has been The Smiths‘ Meat Is Murder (1985), with its headline-grabbing title and the tricky job of following up The Smiths’ debut album (1984) plus competing with the great Hatful of Hollow compilation that had Smiths fans chomping vegetables at the bit after the brilliant How Soon Is Now, the poignant Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, and Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now. But that’s Hatful Of Hollow, Meat Is Murder went to Number 1 on the UK chart and The Smiths became that rare thing, massively successful with absolute credibility. The songs attacked the establishment, the Thatcher government, the education system. It addresses child abuse in Barbarism Begins at Home, corporal punishment in The Headmaster Ritual, the disenfranchised intellectual bedsitters fell in love with Morrissey. The pro-vegetarianism, and suggestion of brutality towards animals title seemed provocative at the time, these days not so much. I have my own feelings about eating animals, other people have their own thoughts on the subject, live and let live, people have to make up their own minds but I think a nudge towards the idea of not eating meat shouldn’t provoke umbrage, dismiss the idea if you wish, let’s talk about the dodgy things that Morrissey says these days instead.
There’s an interesting paragraph about the cover art on Wikipedia:
The album’s sleeve uses a 1967 photograph of an American marine, Cpl. Michael Wynn, in Vietnam, though with the wording on his helmet changed from “Make War Not Love” to “Meat Is Murder”. The original image was used for Emile de Antonio‘s 1968 Oscar-nominated documentary ‘In the Year of the Pig‘, Wynn stated in 2019 that he was never asked permission for the use of the photo and that he “wasn’t real happy” that the wording on the helmet was changed.
Music Of The Daze
The musical musings in this post are an excerpt from my daily blog, TO WHERE I AM NOW, featured on my main website. Read the full blog post here.