NEWS: Teenage indie trio The Height sell-out iconic music venue
Immortalised by The Smiths in their artwork for The Queen is Dead, Salford Lads Club has long been a breeding ground for aspiring artists and has played host to some of the most influential bands and musicians in the world – from 1960s pop group The Hollies to Courteeners frontman, Liam Fray.
Behold, the original master tape to the earlier (and unreleased) rough mix for The Smiths‘ “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side”.
This came from Steve Clarke, who co-ran Drone Studios (along with Paul Roberts), where The Smiths recorded this single. Steve was also the engineer during the production of this song. This was the first tape that came out of that session, which was used for further mastering to the final product.
The sound is definitely a lot rougher than the released version(s), and has an extra round of instrumentals near the end which was cut in the final mix (making this have a length of 3:23 instead of 3:15).
According to Steve regarding this tape:
“In early summer 1985 I got a call from Paul Roberts who told me that The Smiths were in the studio, they'd been in for about three days an(d) the band weren't getting on too well. I recall Paul saying "Steve, I really need a break from 'Dorothy' (aka- Morrissey), can you come down, I feel like a peace envoy running out of love". He was frustrated and tensions were high as Rough Trade hadn't paid the bill from a session two weeks before. I arrived to find them routining three songs; I cannot recall the other two but the Boy with the Thorn in his Side was the stronger of the three. I routined the band in the afternoon until they were tight enough to commit to tape. Johnny Marr asked me later in the day which song I thought was the strongest. They were seemingly at odds and I was not keen to involve myself. But, he pushed, so I said The Boy is best. At that point Morrissey wasn't entirely convinced but as the tracks were layered he started to come round.”
Also a funny story according to Steve:
“During the session I remember Morrissey asking Paul who, in his opinion was the best band to come out of Manchester? Paul being a big sixties fan said "The Hollies", Morrissey was livid and told Paul he was absolutely wrong and that The Buzzcocks were easily the best. The debate went on for some time!”
This also include two other tracks, which are physically separate tapes (just the same spool). Steve said that this was purely from a financial reason and the studio wasted nothing during its time.
Came across this in a book I'm reading by South African author, Luke Alfred, entitled 'Early one morning I decided to step out and find South Africa.' The passage is referring to renowned South African author, Rian Malan and how in the eighties he 'had become 'like the very things he described himself hankering after when he lived in Los Angeles writing music reviews under the nom de plume Nelson Mandela'....
'He has become just another flavour of the sentimental times, an exclusive club that features much of what he describes in the book. There’s Dollar Brand and bank bags full of Durban poison, Morrissey doing his androgynous, slightly loopy thing on the video to This Charming Man, James Phillips and friends pogoing into “the lurch” at Jamesons on wild Friday nights.'
The Smiths - Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
Morrissey and Marr's discography is an embarrassment of riches, which is why Smiths compilations are so good. This mini masterpiece originally appeared on the flip of William It Was Really Nothing in 1984