The Smiths A-Z: "Oscillate Wildly"


Well-Known Member

Next up in our Smiths A-Z project is this instrumental track, first released as a B-side on the "How Soon Is Now?" single in 1985 and then included on The World Won't Listen compilation.

The song was never performed live by the Smiths (although they did soundcheck it on the North American part of TQID tour) and has never been played by Morrissey as a solo artist, either.

What do we think?

Deleted member 30524

My fave of all the instrumental Smiths songs.
It has a cold, hard harshness to it, and when I listen to it I imagine Morrissey and Linder, walking about the streets of Manchester after tea time, with the rain lashing into him and Linder. Both now having very flat hair.


Well-Known Member
My favourite of the instrumentals, too, by some distance.

Has anyone ever attempted to put words / a vocal melody to this?

Famous when dead

Morrissey in NME, February 13, 1988:

"Initially the very notion of instrumentals was motivated by me. I suggested that 'Oscillate Wildly' should be an instrumental; up until that point Johnny had very little interest in non-vocal tracks. There was never any political heave-hoing about should we-shouldn't we have an instrumental and it was never a battle of powers between Johnny and myself. The very assumption that a Smiths instrumental track left Morrissey upstairs in his bedroom stamping his feet and kicking the furniture was untrue! I totally approved but, obviously, I didn't physically contribute."



Well-Known Member
I agree with those praising this track as the best of the instrumentals. It's also deservedly the most well known due to the BBC using it quite a bit for their sports coverage.

I can also see that it would have worked well on a movie soundtrack.

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 65th from 73 of the group's songs.
In the poll on the Hoffman board this song ranked 57th from 73 of the group's songs.


English Blood, Irish Heart
My favourite of the instrumentals, too, by some distance.

Has anyone ever attempted to put words / a vocal melody to this?

I would also be interested to know this.

And second everyone else here as to best of . . .


Well-Known Member
While I also like The Draize Train (live) this is definitely the superior instrumental.

I read the quote that @FWD posted. So is this a case of Morrissey attempting to write vocals and not liking the outcome, or did he genuinely believe it's better an instrumental?


So damn good it's maddening for me that Moz never put vocals to it. I connected with this song immediately upon hearing and felt betrayed once it ended without a single word.


New Membrane
Who in their right mind wants The Smiths without Morrissey even for 3:28 minutes?

these days? maybe more than a few would like the whole Smiths catalog without Morrissey, lol. But they’d probably come to their senses after several plays once they’ve realized that the most important ingredient is missing, the ingredient that drew them to The Smiths in the first place. And trust me they would miss it/him.
the smiths a-z
Top Bottom