Morrissey A-Z: "Fantastic Bird"

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
I agree - it's got a lovely first love innocence to it. Like it's a school friend who loves space - and probably dinosaurs.

Bowie tribute?
I'd be shocked if Bowie had nothing to do with this, especially given the time frame of the recording.
But then again, there's a tiny bit of Bowie in everything Morrissey's ever done, it's unavoidable.
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
I love the lyrics. A bit silly, almost endearingly naive, but also mean in a very creative way.

Reflecting light down to earth
Oh yes - and then some humour, too
Just enough to make us know we don't miss you


and

What brings you down to earth?
Oh yes, of course -
Yes, yes, it was a lack of applause

🚀💖


A nice little oddity, that has no real place in his back catalogue, unfortunately. Would love to know if it was written with a particular person in mind.

Space will never love you like I do...

:thumb:

So what’s it all about?

I don’t know. There was mention that the comedian in the song was Vic Reeves or Andrew Paresi or both?

The lines about ‘science’ ? What’s that about?

I’m probably all wrong, but I would love to hear more interpretations of what these lyrics mean to others.

To me the Fantastic Bird could be the stages of fame, or the idea that fame is what will bring happiness, or the Fantastic Bird represents the vehicle that will propel this aspiring comedian to the heights of fame. All the while, the friend or partner of this fame driven comedian that wants to go higher and higher, warns him or her that they won’t find happiness up there, that the happiness they crave won’t be found in the audience’s applause, that it will only be found down here on earth in the arms of the love that’s always been offered up by the narrator.

What brings you down to earth?
Oh yes, of course -
It was a lack of applause
Scrap metal for a fantastic bird’


This person’s career fails and his or her dreams of becoming or staying famous are scrapped.

Guess that’s one way to look at some of it. Made me think of Jobriath’s song Space Clown, but found no connection.

It’s a strange little rocker, but unfortunately or fortunately, Fantastic Bird will never be Morrissey’s Free Bird.


 
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Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
Rumour has it, it was indeed about the one and only Jobriath.

Think Morrissey was obsessed more than usual with Jobriath at this time 91-92. Even trying to track down Jobriath to see if he would open up for him on the Your Arsenal tour. Though to Morrissey’s disappointment, Jobriath the space Pigeon has flown the coop, never to return. :(
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
:thumb:

So what’s it all about?

I don’t know. There was mention that the comedian in the song was Vic Reeves or Andrew Paresi or both?

The lines about ‘science’ ? What’s that about?

I’m probably all wrong, but I would love to hear more interpretations of what these lyrics mean to others.

To me the Fantastic Bird could be the stages of fame, or the idea that fame is what will bring happiness, or the Fantastic Bird represents the vehicle that will propel this aspiring comedian to the heights of fame. All the while, the friend or partner of this fame driven comedian that wants to go higher and higher, warns him or her that they won’t find happiness up there, that the happiness they crave won’t be found in the audience’s applause, that it will only be found down here in the
arms of the love that’s always been offered up by the narrator.

What brings you down to earth?
Oh yes, of course -
It was a lack of applause
Scrap metal for a fantastic bird’


This person’s career fails and his or her dreams of becoming or staying famous are scrapped.

Guess that’s one way to look at some of it. Made me think of Jobriath’s song Space Clown, but found no connection.

It’s a strange little rocker, but unfortunately or fortunately, Fantastic Bird will never be Morrissey’s Free Bird.



I've no idea if it's about a real person and I have no theory who it could be about. I just really like the sci-fi imagery here.

I think it could be a metaphor for someone wanting to venture out into new territory, so to speak, whatever that may be.

"Science" is the opposite of the emotional realm here. Spaceships represent achievements of modern science. But in the end the "comedian" realises that they still need the recognition and acknowledgement and perhaps even love of real people down on earth.

I like your idea that it's about the heights of fame.

Who knows, maybe he really wrote it with Jobriath in mind.

Pregnant.gif
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
I've no idea if it's about a real person and I have no theory who it could be about. I just really like the sci-fi imagery here.

I think it could be a metaphor for someone wanting to venture out into new territory, so to speak, whatever that may be.

"Science" is the opposite of the emotional realm here. Spaceships represent achievements of modern science. But in the end the "comedian" realises that they still need the recognition and acknowledgement and perhaps even love of real people down on earth.

I like your idea that it's about the heights of fame.

Who knows, maybe he really wrote it with Jobriath in mind.

View attachment 69231

Yes! lovely :thumb:


Was thinking that the mention of science as technology with its promise of happiness is being criticized by the Luddite in Morrissey.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Never liked this one very much and I have no idea why Morrissey continually misremembers this as a Southpaw-era track.
Too many pints of vodka maybe? The dates on a number of recent reissues have been all over the place.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
Never liked this one very much and I have no idea why Morrissey continually misremembers this as a Southpaw-era track.
What's even weirder is that Mick Ronson is correctly credited as producer. He obviously couldn't possibly have been around during the Southpaw Grammar sessions.

All part of the riddle, apparently...

FantasticBirdSouthpawDiary.jpg
 
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Phranc & Open

Just Frenk!
It is still unclear whether this song is "Girl I used to know" which is mentioned in Johnny Rogan's (RIP) book. "Entering Olympic studios in August before the US tour to record 2 b-sides for further single releases" I think to remember.
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
It is still unclear whether this song is "Girl I used to know" which is mentioned in Johnny Rogan's (RIP) book. "Entering Olympic studios in August before the US tour to record 2 b-sides for further single releases" I think to remember.

Only read the Rogan book once years ago, so I don’t remember the comment. Maybe ‘Girl I use to know’ if there ever was such a song got retitled and became ‘You’ve Had Her’ the b-side to Certain People.

Just a guess, hopefully someone else can answer this better.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
It is still unclear whether this song is "Girl I used to know" which is mentioned in Johnny Rogan's (RIP) book. "Entering Olympic studios in August before the US tour to record 2 b-sides for further single releases" I think to remember.

A hoax, apparently.




Don't remember it being mentioned in any of the Rogan books.
 

Phranc & Open

Just Frenk!
Sorry, I mixed up Rogan's book with the one David Bret put out. "Landscapes of the mind", page 160/161: "On 30 August, Morrissey entered London's Abbey Road studios & recorded 2 songs - A girl I used to know and Jack the ripper".

Not sure Ronson was on board during all the b-side sessions in 1992 so FB could of course be an outtake from the original album sessions 91/92.

I have no copy of CPIK with me at work (shame on me) but a quick search in the internet says Ronson produced both b-sides too. Am I right?
 
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GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
Sorry, I mixed Rogan's book with the one David Brett put out. "Landscapes of the mind", page 160/161: "On 30 August, Morrissey entered London's Abbey Road studios & recorded 2 songs - A girl I used to know and Jack the ripper".

Not sure Ronson was on board during all the b-side sessions in 1992 so FB could of course be an outtake from the original album sessions 91/92.

I have no copy of CPIK with me at work (shame on me) but a quick search in the internet says Ronson produced both b-sides too. Am I right?

Well, if David Brett says so... that explains the mix up.

Jack the Ripper and You've Had Her were both recorded at Abbey Road Studios in Octover 1992 and produced by Mick Ronson. Fantastic Bird is thought to have been recorded at the same session.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I've always thought there was a touch of amusing,(and possibly deliberate?), irony about the title of this song. Let's face it, Morrissey wouldn't have a clue what a 'fantastic bird' was, and recognise her from a hole in the ground - not even if she showed him her otherwise central zone and barrel-rolled her breasts in his face.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
You mean, he's unreliable?

Yes, I would say of all the books on Morrissey and The Smiths both Brett books contain the most mistakes and inaccuracies.
 
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