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

It pretty much never got better than this. It was so cool to be a Morrisseyite in those times. Each release was greeted by queues at Manchester music stores. There was a vibe and a buzz about these single releases as we wondered if he'd ever tour again.

Even Marr liked this.

An absolute classic single.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Stone cold classic, yes. Impossibly original, yes. Crystal clear pop, yes. Who else in the history of popular music would even think of writing a song like this? No one. And the fact that it became an actual hit? Just incredible. But still...too lightweight for me to ever claim it’s one of his best ever songs or lyrics. I wouldn’t include it in my Moz top 20. Top 50, maybe.
 

Watson

Well-Known Member
One of the greatest songs ever recorded by anyone ever in the history of music. Perfection.

They could never produce it live though.
 
D

Deleted member 29235

Guest
I'm lusting after Craig's Gibson ES-295 in those videos. Eye teeth would be given to own one of those.

CG ES-295.jpg
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
A fine pop song and Morrissey is one of the very few songwriters who could have a top ten hit with a song mentioning the Kray twins.

I don't quite see it through the perspective of "it never got better than this" as, much as I like the song, the release was a step down from Everyday is Like Sunday in terms of the b-sides (the single that followed would mark a further step down).

There were also a couple of worrying signs for Morrissey's career...

The first being that this marked the start of the "themed songs" that continued across the next few singles. There was a shift away from the personal to Morrissey ticking off subject matters.

The second being the change in band personnel which was obviously only ever likely to be short-lived for obvious reasons.

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 10th from 264 solo songs.
 
D

Deleted member 29235

Guest
I don't quite see it through the perspective of "it never got better than this" as, much as I like the song, the release was a step down from Everyday is Like Sunday in terms of the b-sides (the single that followed would mark a further step down).

Without wishing to pre-empt Michael's Bones when its turn comes, I think that song is his finest b-side. For me it was after 'Famous' that the decline to 'Kill Uncle' began.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Stone cold classic, yes. Impossibly original, yes. Crystal clear pop, yes. Who else in the history of popular music would even think of writing a song like this? No one. And the fact that it became an actual hit? Just incredible. But still...too lightweight for me to ever claim it’s one of his best ever songs or lyrics. I wouldn’t include it in my Moz top 20. Top 50, maybe.
My thoughts exactly. It's a cracking, unique pop single but yeah maybe Top 50 for me. Happy that so many others on here love it more, though!
 
M

Mozzer1980

Guest
My thoughts exactly. It's a cracking, unique pop single but yeah maybe Top 50 for me. Happy that so many others on here love it more, though!

Great minds think alike ;) . To say it's a timeless classic is to say nothing . But for me too, somewhere between 30 and 50 in my subjective ranking .
 
M

Musician

Guest
Seems like it's a favourite for all, no wonder. I fell into Morrissey for seeing this video. Sandwiched between a Stock Aitken Waterman hit and some other current pop song at the time, I just couldn't place this guy anywhere, it really puzzled me. Is this irony? Does he really mean he's a playboy? I was hooked.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
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.
I'm really glad that shirt is getting so much attention. Morrissey's persona in that TOTP clip is very much like his Smiths appearances but he's traded in his old auntie's blouse for his uncle's cowboy shirt. The contrast between the way he is dressed and the way he moves is classic. I've never seen that clip before and I think it's hilarious the shirt is so effective.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
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.

You mean besides Joyce's atrocious haircut?
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
I'm really glad that shirt is getting so much attention. Morrissey's persona in that TOTP clip is very much like his Smiths appearances but he's traded in his old auntie's blouse for his uncle's cowboy shirt. The contrast between the way he is dressed and the way he moves is classic. I've never seen that clip before and I think it's hilarious the shirt is so effective.

His rapid evolution from lumberjack trainee (February '89) to fully fledged goth babe (March '90 on TotP with November Spawned A Monster) is most fascinating.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
Brilliant title: only Morrissey can come up with something like this.
And fortunately also backed by a brilliant pop song.

I remember feeling puzzled by the lyrics at the time: was this about the glorification of crime? First song to showcase his obsession with criminals, thugs, hooligans and boxers, with many more to follow, so the words don't surprise me anymore.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
Brilliant title: only Morrissey can come up with something like this.
And fortunately also backed by a brilliant pop song.

I remember feeling puzzled by the lyrics at the time: was this about the glorification of crime? First song to showcase his obsession with criminals, thugs, hooligans and boxers, with many more to follow, so the words don't surprise me anymore.

I Want The One I Can't Have and Sweet And Tender Hooligan also deal with similar characters.
 

Mayfly

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...
Well yes, the quality of his solo output went downhill after this one, still I'd argue that he was able to return to new heights later on (around V&I for example). His solo career feels more like a roller coaster to me than a steady decline.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
I never really interpreted "I want the one I can't have" this way, but "Sweet and tender hooligan" is indeed a very convincing example of his attraction to those types.

This part

"A tough kid who sometimes swallows nails
Raised on Prisoner's Aid
He killed a policeman when he was thirteen
And somehow that really impressed me
It's written all over my face"

... feels similar to me. He always liked them tough kids.
 
D

Deleted member 29235

Guest
I never really interpreted "I want the one I can't have" this way, but "Sweet and tender hooligan" is indeed a very convincing example of his attraction to those types.

But in contrast to LotIP, SATH condemns the young criminal rather than idolising him. The song is rather sneering about the sorts of things that defence lawyers say in courts in mitigation of their clients, albeit in a rather hyperbolic and comedic way.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
But in contrast to LotIP, SATH condemns the young criminal rather than idolising him. The song is rather sneering about the sorts of things that defence lawyers say in courts in mitigation of their clients, albeit in a rather hyperbolic and comedic way.

Ah, I'm not so sure they're really that different. The way he sings it is so nonchalant and I always felt like you can definitely sense some admiration for the hooligan between the lines. As is so often the case with Morrissey, it's very ambiguous and there's clearly a romanticising aspect to it.
 
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