The Smiths A-Z: "Golden Lights"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member








(Brief Moz appearance - in a car! - around the 2 minute mark)


Next up in our Smiths A-Z project is this cover of a 1965 composition by Twinkle, which reached #21 on the UK singles chart at the time of its release. The Smiths' version appeared as a B-side of "Ask" in October 1986, and was then included on Louder Than Bombs the following year.

The song was never played live by the Smiths, and has never been performed live by Morrissey either.

Fun fact (via Wikipedia, like much of Michael Gove's "Levelling Up" paper): Twinkle (Lynn Ripley) went to school with Camilla, of Camilla and Charles fame.

What do we think?
 

The.Truth.

Every.Single.Time.
Well I always thought this was great. I didn't even realize it was a cover until it was part of the pre-show music back on the Kill Uncle tour. He could have re-written it and just stolen it but I think it was already perfect and fits with his other songs about fame and the way it changes relationships.

edit: The interview with Twinkle was very good.
 
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Watson

Probably best not to take things too seriously.
Certainly a divisive oddity...I'm glad it exists, in the same way I'm glad Sweetie-Pie exists, but it is not a song I want to listen to without ample warning and a stiff drink. Actually, listening to it now as I type, it is quite jolly and infectious...maybe I need to revise everything I've ever thought about it? I'll get back to you...
 
D

Deleted member 30524

Guest
I don’t understand all the hoo-ha
Around this song. It certainly isn’t their worst song .
It’s catchy and uplifting and with Kirsty making an appearance adds a little bit of her magic to proceedings.

Granted, it’s not something I’ll search for, but I certainly don’t fast forward this song.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
I've always found this song weirdly moving and that only increases with the passing of time.

Top ten idol, king of your age
Who do you turn to when you're backstage ?
Don't you remember you once knew a girl
You loved her more than the world
Is life always like this, brother ?
Good for one side but bad for another
I must put you behind me tonight
'Cause you belong to the lights


If that's not 100% classic Moz material, I'm not sure what is.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I find it so bizarre that this is (still) the source of so much bitterness between Morrissey and Marr, and seemingly pretty controversial amongst fans as well. I unashamedly love it.

I get Johnny may feel it's a bit of a come down to record a lightweight pop cover version, and on that level it certainly doesn't compare to the Moz/Marr canon - but come on - it's a perfectly fun, frothy B-Side. Not everything needs to be earth-shatteringly important. It's got a great delicate melody, Morrissey 'underwater vocals' are uniquely wierd, and the amazing Kirsty MacColl is on it. Sure, you wouldn't want it on a proper studio album, but as a single flipside it's perfect. A solid 8 out of 10.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Probably severely underrated. I blame the arrangement and the production.
 

Ketamine Sun

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Ketamine Sun

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Probably severely underrated. I blame the arrangement and the production.

There are things about it that I do like, Kirsty’s vocals, the drum (machine?)position in the mix, and some of the atmospheric touch’s are nice, especially in the song’s intro.

Though, I really like the arrangements of the original, I find Morrissey’s delivery of the songs subject matter far more moving than Twinkle’s, even with the overly processed chorus/flange effects.



Morrissey, in a Q&A session on True To You in June 2007:


"Everything has its place and its reason. Certainly, the early Smiths covers, for example 'Work is a four-letter word' and 'Golden lights' were done as acts of playful perversity - they weren't meant to be groundbreaking miracles of sound. And that's usually how it is, just a matter of throwing something unexpected into the mix."


According to Morrissey, Johnny did in fact play guitar on this. ;)






fame fatal fame
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I've always found this song weirdly moving and that only increases with the passing of time.

Top ten idol, king of your age
Who do you turn to when you're backstage ?
Don't you remember you once knew a girl
You loved her more than the world
Is life always like this, brother ?
Good for one side but bad for another
I must put you behind me tonight
'Cause you belong to the lights


If that's not 100% classic Moz material, I'm not sure what is.
Ironic that Moz mentioned this song again in his letter, because he basically repurposed the lyrics for the rest of his rant. 👍
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><>
Ironic that Moz mentioned this song again in his letter, because he basically repurposed the lyrics for the rest of his rant. 👍

were they brothers? were they lovers? I guess they could have been both, no?


Agree, Johnny really needs to put Morrissey behind him, for Morrissey belongs to the lights, and not headlines for Marr.(y)
 
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Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
where they brothers? where they lovers? I guess they could have been both, no?


Agree, Johnny really needs to put Morrissey behind him, for Morrissey belongs to the lights, and not headlines for Marr.(y)
I'm not biting but I appreciate 👍
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Is life always like this, brother ?
Good for one side but bad for another
I must put you behind me tonight
'Cause you belong to the lights


The perfect for Morrissey to have performed this would surely have been around 2004 when this was the backdrop, though I'm not sure if he'd be aware of the self-irony.

morrissey-banner.jpg
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age

SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
I don't mind them doing the cover but I find Morrissey's vocals here horrid and it basically ruins it for me. The only thing they recorded that's like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. The original is nice, I would have preferred a straight-ahead cover ala "Work Is A Four-Letter Word."
 
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Southport Grandma

Active Member
Wasn’t the problem that Johnny Marr and the band record a straight version of the song which Morrissey then had remixed such as that treatment on his vocal?
 
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