The Smiths A-Z: "Never Had No One Ever"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member









Next up in our Smiths A-Z project is this song, the fourth track on The Queen Is Dead album, released in 1986.

The song was performed live 30 times by the Smiths, while it has been played live six times by Morrissey, all in 2021.

What do we think?
 

Fake C

Measured, Found Wanting
"I had a really bad dream, it lasted twenty years, seven months and twenty-seven days"
It's full of great lines but that's my favorite. 10/10
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Massively underrated. For some reason this seems to be one of the 'whipping boys' on this album, as I keep hearing it mentioned as people's least favourite. For me it's one of the best tracks on the LP - deliciously dark and moody, the whole thing drips with atmosphere - a clear 10/10. I think the issue might be the album track-listing - placing this immediately after the equally gloomy career-highlight of 'I Know It's Over' (a clear contender for the best Smiths son ever) means it gets slightly overshadowed, I think. Had it followed something jaunty like 'Cemetry Gates' I think it would have had more impact, but I suspect a lot of people think "Oh, it's like the previous song, but not quite as good". Which may be techinically correct, but it is still fooking amazing.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Probably my least favourite song on a great album, it nevertheless contains some fine musical ideas from Johnny.

The lyrics are fine for what they are, but they are also incredibly sparse.

I would agree with Stephen Street's opinion that this song should not have been placed after I Know it's Over, but what Morrissey wanted he got.


Just to show other viewpoints and not because they should be considered in any way definitive...

In the poll on this board this song ranked 57th from 73 of the group's songs.
In the poll on the Hoffman board this song ranked 58th from 73 of the group's songs.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Not a bad song at all, but (as mentioned above) putting it right after "I Know It's Over" on the album really does it no favours at all!

Imagine if something like "Rubber Ring" had ended up instead of this on TQID, as the fourth track...
 
R

Rubbersoul

Guest
Great song, great lyrics. Sometimes less is more. The brilliant thing about Morrissey's lyricism is that he can say all he has to say in a single line and it's more impactful than most artists verbose 7 minute songs.
 

Watson

Well-Known Member
Lyrically brilliant, for all of the examples given above. Musically it becomes a little bit lumpen after the first 90 seconds, or so...yep, I think it is the weakest track on TQiD but, with the bar so staggeringly high, it is still an exceptional song.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
A couple of interesting versions:
The early trumpet version from the Anniversary CD:

Also, as much as it pains me to admit it (as I do believe he's turned into an annoying righteous twat), I have to admit that Billy Bragg's version captures the swaggering feel really well, and is probably one of the best Smiths covers out there:
 

Watson

Well-Known Member
A couple of interesting versions:
The early trumpet version from the Anniversary CD:

Also, as much as it pains me to admit it (as I do believe he's turned into an annoying righteous twat), I have to admit that Billy Bragg's version captures the swaggering feel really well, and is probably one of the best Smiths covers out there:

The Bragg version does add another layer of despair/melancholy/realism...it's not something I search out, but am happy enough when it pops up on shuffle every now and then. I'm with you in that Bragg has turned into something I'm no longer interested in, but a bit of cognitive dissonance comes in handy every now and then :)
 

rafhy mxs

New Member
as doubtful as it is, it's one of my favorite songs, it's in my TOP 10, I even made an MV with the new batman movie with this song
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Is it just me who finds the double negative in the title slightly irksome? Like if you never had no-one then you must logically always have had someone? 🤔
 
I

I Am No 1

Guest
She was Nobody’s Nothing (Lifeguard sleeping)
What if Nobody or No one is an actual person
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
A beautifully atmospheric dirge (in the best possible sense of the word). Gorgeous gloom, and I love the sense of being utterly defeated that permeates the sparse lyrics. As countless others have pointed out, however, it was foolish to place it after IKIO. But that has nothing to do with the quality of the song.
 
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