Morrissey A-Z: "The Last of the Famous International Playboys"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member




Today's song is this Morrissey/Street composition, released as a single in 1989 and reaching #6 in the UK charts.

The Top of the Pops performance, of course, features then Radio 1 DJ Mike Reid saying at the end, "anyone who likes Oscar Wilde and Billy Fury is fine by me." (I still can't get the "Mike Reid, Mike Reid, 275 and 285" jingle out of my head.)

Anyhow: what do we think of this one?
 
Quiz time: upon viewing this video for the first time (way back in 1989 I suppose!), what was the most shocking part? Please say someone else saw it and has thought of it like I did nearly every time I see this video.
 

Light Housework

useless eater
Quiz time: upon viewing this video for the first time (way back in 1989 I suppose!), what was the most shocking part? Please say someone else saw it and has thought of it like I did nearly every time I see this video.
Which video, the top or bottom. I'm assuming the top one.
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
What can I say about this song? Surely it’s recognised as a bonified classic. Excellent production, instrumentation is on-point and the lyrics are witty and biting, as well as darkly sinister. Catchy, too. The amount of times I’ve heard it has not (yet!) diminished its pop power: one of his best singles and songs, and it wasn’t even on an album!
10/10
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
It's not very Morrissey, is it, that shirt in the TOTP appearance? But I absolutely love it.

The song is great, too, of course. And how happy he looks, at certain points, in that TOTP clip, even interacting with the crowd! It's lovely to watch.
 
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Deleted member 29235

Guest
It never got any better than this. The b-sides were stellar as well, especially Michael's Bones. But those trousers tho...
 

Phranc & Open

Just Frenk!
Nobody sang like this or looked like this in 1989. Absolutely nobody. Irresistible in its arrangement as an anthem, the hookline and the whole sing-a-long. It's supposed to be about one of the Kray brothers but isn't it again about the coquetting master himself? He looks so impossibly good in the official video, with a jacket/cardigan that a woman could wear and the rest of the Smiths (you can even hear that) in the back. Noted with a shrug at the time, it's still a medium-sized sensation today. The song is and remains one of Morrissey's best.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
It never got any better than this. The b-sides were stellar as well, especially Michael's Bones. But those trousers tho...
It's a great song, sure, but to say it never got any better than this feels really weird, to me. It's a great single, a bouncy, almost novelty pop song about the romance of crime - but it says nothing to me about my life.
 

SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
When I hear songs like this that are Morrissey at his best, it makes me miss those vital c0-authors that are now long gone - Johnny Marr, Stephen Street, Alain Whyte, and more than I realized prior to this A-Z project, Mark Nevin.
 
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Deleted member 29235

Guest
It's a great song, sure, but to say it never got any better than this feels really weird, to me. It's a great single, a bouncy, almost novelty pop song about the romance of crime - but it says nothing to me about my life.

I do quite like the romance of crime so its theme does chime with me somewhat, as does it more general musing on the nature of celebrity and fandom.
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
its one of his best but its a song if it came on i would probably skip,probably heard it too many times,first of the gang is the same.
7 play/10 boys.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Quiz time: upon viewing this video for the first time (way back in 1989 I suppose!), what was the most shocking part? Please say someone else saw it and has thought of it like I did nearly every time I see this video.

Okay, I'll bite. Why is it shocking and what are we supposed to be thinking?

I'm wondering if he was side-shaving his eyebrows or something during this period. He has a peculiarly piggy face.
 

Janice

Well-Known Member
A wonderful song to grace any occasion.
Hadn’t heard it live for years until he belted it out in 07, possibly Tucson, Az, straight after opening with TQID. Them were heady days.

😍❤️😍❤️
 

Johnny

Active Member
The absolute highest watermark of Morrissey's solo career.
Great song, great hair, great clothes and even a bit of dancing by Rourkie at the start.
 

CJM

Practising troublemaker
The Last of the Famous International Playboys is a stone cold classic – a truly wonderful song that even non-Morrissey fans seem to enjoy. The fantastic lyrics, Morrissey’s greatest flirtation with the ‘romance of crime’, coupled with the song writing of Stephen Street and a band including Rourke, Joyce and Gannon was a winning formula.

I rarely watch any of Morrissey’s videos, but the only ones that ever really stand out to me are the ones that the late Tim Broad directed – and this one (almost) has it all. It is a lovely trip down memory lane and into Morrissey’s world at the time – certain fans could (and probably have) written essays on the lad’s bedroom alone. All these decades later one questions springs to mind – why was Bob Hoskins never used by Morrissey or The Smiths as a cover star?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
This song is evidence that The Smiths could have continued without Marr. Was it ultimately just a legal issue that Marr wouldn't let Morrissey use the name? I'm not saying this is the same as the Morrissey/Marr body of work, but it's a natural evolution. If 'Viva Hate' had been credited to The Smiths and had featured Joyce and Rourke on drums/bass, with a traditional Smiths-type cover, nobody would have been batting an eyelid by the time 'Playboys' was released and became their biggest hit to date. Sure, folks would still have been missing Marr, but I think the general verdict would have been that Morrissey had successfully kept the band going. Not that I really care. On the whole, I think it's for the best that The Smiths ended; just saying though, that I don't buy into the thinking that there was no way they could have survived and thrived once Marr left.
 

Ben Budd

Well-Known Member
it's pretty much in his top three solo songs ever
 
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