This recording of The Smiths in November 1984 at the SFX comes and goes online, but it seemed time to upload the 12″ vinyl for convenience sake, and perhaps for a nice nostalgic buzz for a few of you. While the sound recording isn’t the best, the crowd noises and singalongs are great too at times. This was a band on the ascent, and the crowd are loving every minute of it.
The most popular LP bootleg of these gigs is known as ‘Blue’, and the cover of the bootleg shows Elvis Presley. I don’t like it, so here’s a new one that feels a little more fitting. Brendan Behan was referenced by name on Morrissey’s last LP, World Peace is None Of Your Business, and an image of the Dublin writer appeared on screen during his 2014 show at the Point Theatre. Brendan is shown here in discussion with Lucian Freud at the Mansion House.
The bootleg includes the following tracks:
Side A:01 Reel Around The Fountain
02 Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
03 Rusholme Ruffians
04 This Charming Man
05 How Soon Is Now?
Side B: 06 Barbarism Begins At Home
07 I Want The One I Can’t Have
08 Miserable Lie
09 Hand In Glove
10 What Difference Does It Make?
The files are downloadable.
In May 1984, a journalist at the Irish Independent tried to give readers an idea of just what The Smiths were all about on the eve of their first SFX gigs, writing that:
The Smiths consist of a rather weird young gentleman named Morrissey on vocals, Johnny Marr on guitar and rhythm section,Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce on bass and drums respectively… There are some who see The Smiths as a sad throwback to the days of pretentiousness and drug induced senility. But The Smiths are a whole lot more than that.
Of course, the “rather weird young gentleman” went on to become quite important indeed, with his band achieving phenomenal success in their five short years together. By the time they returned to Dublin in November, they had built an enormous following.
Praise for the band came from the most unlikely quarters in Ireland during 1984. Sinn Féin newspaper An Phoblacht delighted in reporting Morrissey’s word after the Brighton bomb, when he claimed “the sorrow of the Brighton bombing is that she (Thatcher) escaped unscathed. The sorrow is that she’s still alive.” The paper noted that “Morrissey himself is perceived as some kind of guru of the disillusioned, dispossessed and disgusted youth of today.”
Morrissey’s connections to Dublin are well-documented, not least in his own memoir, Autobiography. Describing himself on stage in 2004 as being “ten parts Crumlin and ten parts Old Trafford”, he was by no means unique in The Smiths with such strong Irish heritage. Marr was born John Patrick Maher in 1963 to Kildare parents, and has always firmly described himself as “Mancunian Irish”. This week sees the release of his own long-awaited autobiography, Set The Boy Free.
Did you see The Smiths in Dublin at any of their gigs here? If so, be sure to leave a comment.