Morrissey A-Z: "Moon River"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member






Today's song is Morrissey's cover of the Mercer/Mancini composition from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. Morrissey's version was recorded in 1994 and featured as a B-side on the "Hold on to Your Friends" and "Now My Heart Is Full" singles. I've included the short and extended versions here, as well as Frank Sinatra's version which Morrissey said in a 1994 interview was the one he grew up with.

What do we think?
 

Phranc & Open

Well-Known Member
Spencer back on drums and you can hear it. :)
Honestly, the original cover version is an inch too long but still something special, I dig out from time to time. The Grandezza is XXL, the mood is nostalgic and the crying gets me every time.
 
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This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
A fine cover, with a wistful tone through the chunky acoustic guitars and spectral production. Moz’s vocals also bleed into this murky fog, making them even more heart-tugging, as if he’s one with the instrumentation. I prefer the shortened cover; the instrumental doesn’t have much substance and the extended version, while nice to listen to in the background, it can get a bit wearing over 10 minutes. Not one I come back to often, but the emotion is there: I just wish the entire arrangement was stronger and more evocative than this.
6/10
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Mozatra!

The short version is an absolute delight with Moz providing his standard fare of dreamy melancholia & wonderful vocals.
I love the Sinatra version too.


But, the extended version is simply toooooo looong, so much so that I find it completely irritating & generally skip this.
Quite why he decided to, effectively, triple the length of the original is beyond me.
 
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crotty32

Active Member
As mentioned above the shorter version is better but can I just the 3 cd box set of the singles has a fantastic cover.I would love to buy a Royal Navy? Distressed t shirt of that.
 
Dark, grey, wet Saturday afternoon in 1994, on Oldham Street. Downstairs at the Vinyl Exchange, browse the Moz section to discover that they've got the HOTYF 12"!

Purchase it immediately and carry it home. There on the turntable, dust the grooves, drop the record needle, lay down on the bed, drift into the song and out of the day.
 
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Flibberty

Well-Known Member
I think the most interesting aspect of this recording was the failed experiment to bring Gary and Spencer back into the fold. The session went badly and it marked the end of that line-up.

The cover is ok, but it has been sung by so many legendary singers that it is difficult to get too excited about it. I agree with the comments about the extended version being far too long.

There was something incongruous about the constant stage invasions while this song was being performed in concert.

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 242nd from 264 solo songs.
 

CJM

Active Member
Morrissey does nothing wrong here, but I have little emotion or regard for Moon River. The wistful tone and murky fog that @This Charming Bowie eloquently mentions should draw me in, but fails to do so, it all just feels a little… dreary. I clearly recall my vivid disappointment of 1994 – trundling home on the train and heading up to my room to listen to the 12” single of Hold On To Your Friends. The 9 ½ minute extended version of Moon River seemed longer than the Nile and was such a crashing disappointment that the record was promptly put back in the sleeve and not listened to again for years.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
It's completely incongruous with the song, really, but it's inextricably tied up for me with memories of living by the beach in Florida and that's why I love listening to this, from time to time. Just one of those weirdly pure memory triggers.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
It's completely incongruous with the song, really, but it's inextricably tied up for me with memories of living by the beach in Florida and that's why I love listening to this, from time to time. Just one of those weirdly pure memory triggers.
Yeah that's one of the great things about 'music'...evokes strong memories (both good and bad) where you can pinpoint time & place.
For example, YATQ brings back fond memories of early morning walks along the beach on a Caribbean island. Wonderful.
 

Phranc & Open

Well-Known Member
I think the most interesting aspect of this recording was the failed experiment to bring Gary and Spencer back into the fold. The session went badly and it marked the end of that line-up.
Tell us more. I can't remember reading about any troubles? Lawnmower parts changed and replaced again by musical director Boz. Nothing special or new.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Tell us more. I can't remember reading about any troubles? Lawnmower parts changed and replaced again by musical director Boz. Nothing special or new.
It has been written about in some of the books. Certainly by Simon Goddard and probably others.

The recording of Vauxhall and I had gone smoothly, but the session for Moonriver went badly. When Morrissey asked why it was proving so difficult, he was told it was simply due to it being a different band. Probably not a coincidence that this proved the end of them.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Summated reasonably well via link below:

"Spencer and Gaz were fired through Jo Slee in 1993 (supposedly due to "unruly behaviour" on tour).

In early 1994 they were called back in for Moonriver and A Swallow On My Neck but there were technical issues and they were out again (so they didn't play on Boxers; also Mozipedia kinda speculates if Gaz might have carved the words "Die wanker" into Morrissey's front door at that time which is kind of funny, I think).

After the first Southpaw sessions with Taylor in France were aborted Spencer was back in and stayed until after the Maladjusted tour. And that's when the weird stories about financial disputes and abusive faxes start...

Bridgwood quit at the end of 1997 and that's why Gaz returned on bass for the 1999 tour and stayed until 2006."


 
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