The Smiths A-Z: "Panic"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member






Our next track in the Smiths A-Z project is this song, released as a standalone single in July 1986 and reaching #11 on the UK singles chart. "Panic" was also included on the compilation albums Louder Than Bombs and The World Won't Listen, as well as being featured on the Rank live album.

The song was played live by the Smiths 38 times, and has been performed 81 times so far by Morrissey.

What do we think?
 

Carlislebaz

Cock of the north
I can always recall hearing this song for the first time on Radio 1 . It just thundered out like nothing else I’d ever heard. And this song was played a lot on the radio, so don’t listen to some ex band members 😉

Around the time of release of this song, I can remember The Smiths just being everywhere, Radio, TV,
Local night clubs , and this song especially was / and still played heavily in Carlisle bars.

It’s a blistering song, probably their most popular. I knew back then that I was part of something very special, and this song confirmed my thoughts.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
This is the song that turned me into a fan, back when it was released. Every time it comes on, it still floors me - just those opening few seconds, it sounds IMMENSE.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Classic Smiths.
 

Ketamine Sun

WE’RE ALL SLAVES
81 times live by Morrissey alone ?! wowzers!

It’s songs like this when I hear them and think, they were such an original band with such peculiar songs.

‘Hang the D.J! NOW !’


"To those who took offence at the 'burn down the disco' line I'd say -- please show me the black members of New Order! For me, personally, New Order make great disco music, but there's no black people in the group. The point I'm making is that you can't just interchange the words 'black' and 'disco', or the phrases 'black music' and 'disco music'. It makes no earthly sense... 'Panic' came about at the time of Chernobyl. Morrissey and myself were listening to a Newsbeat radio report about it. The story about this shocking disaster comes to an end and then, immediately, we're off into Wham!'s 'I'm Your Man'. I remember actually saying 'what the f*** has this got to do with peoples' lives?' We hear about Chernobyl, then, seconds later, we're expected to be jumping around to 'I'm Your Man'... And so -- 'hang the blessed DJ'. I think it was a great lyric, important and applicable to anyone who lives in England. I mean, even the most ardent disco fan wouldn't want to be subjected to that stuff, would they?"
- Johnny Marr, New Musical Express, February 1987
 

Mozzer1980

Active Member
81 times live by Morrissey alone ?! wowzers!

It’s songs like this when I hear them and think, they were such an original band with such peculiar songs.

‘Hang the D.J! NOW !’


"To those who took offence at the 'burn down the disco' line I'd say -- please show me the black members of New Order! For me, personally, New Order make great disco music, but there's no black people in the group. The point I'm making is that you can't just interchange the words 'black' and 'disco', or the phrases 'black music' and 'disco music'. It makes no earthly sense... 'Panic' came about at the time of Chernobyl. Morrissey and myself were listening to a Newsbeat radio report about it. The story about this shocking disaster comes to an end and then, immediately, we're off into Wham!'s 'I'm Your Man'. I remember actually saying 'what the f*** has this got to do with peoples' lives?' We hear about Chernobyl, then, seconds later, we're expected to be jumping around to 'I'm Your Man'... And so -- 'hang the blessed DJ'. I think it was a great lyric, important and applicable to anyone who lives in England. I mean, even the most ardent disco fan wouldn't want to be subjected to that stuff, would they?"
- Johnny Marr, New Musical Express, February 1987
Well said . Paraphrasing , We hear about Ukraine , then, seconds later, we're expected to be jumping around to catchy duet with Miley - I am Veronica ...

Panic - one of the first songs I heard from The Smiths. An absolute classic. Of course, I love the live versions by Morrissey .
 

Ketamine Sun

WE’RE ALL SLAVES
Well said . Paraphrasing , We hear about Ukraine , then, seconds later, we're expected to be jumping around to catchy duet with Miley - I am Veronica ...

i wouldn’t call it a ‘duet’.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
One of the group's strongest singles and, had they been in the country to promote it at the time of release, it could easily have been a bigger hit.

The Panic message and Morrisey's idea of including that word on promotional material is almost as important as the song itself.

Great work from Johnny and John Porter, too and while it is obviously inspired by T Rex, it still sounds like The Smiths.


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 10th from 73 of the group's songs.
In the poll on the Hoffman board this song ranked 16th from 73 of the group's songs.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
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(Oddly, I've grown to admire Steve Wright, now that I'm in my 50s...)
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Me too, but can you remember all the characters on his radio show?
Mr Angry, jerverse the hairdresser, Mr mad???
Ha! Yeah, it was kind of alternative comedy without ever really being "alternative". It's weird, he's relentlessly mainstream but he absolutely loves comedians like Stewart Lee.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
This song takes me back to better days.
It was so great to be a Smiths fan at the time.
They really were on top of their game, one of their best singles For sure.
 

Dirk Blaggard

Well-Known Member
I love Johnnys glam jam on this, its fantastic. M's words are brilliant as well,
"The Leeds side-streets that you slip down I wonder to myself
Hopes may rise on the Grasmere But honey pie, you're not safe here" .

The naming of British streets, was of course part of the Brit pop play book 10 years later . M was a keen student of the Ray Davis school of taking the American habit, of geographical mythology and applying it to the UK .
Its funny how this became the first attempt of someone stating M is racist. The music writer who wrote the auricle that names this song, actually likes M (way more than Bowie,for instance) He just saw M as an easy target and tried to be edgy and Manchester cool , that of course means thinking black music is better than white.
The music writers name is Frank Owen and was/is a cretin, a lesson in "If you knew about the lives of those that criticise music, you wouldn't pay them any mind"
In 2015 Frank was a meth smoking moron, who sent pictures of his younger girlfriends arse on the internet in a pathetic attempt to say " look I have a bab"
One of those who tries to get man points by talking about being around druggy parts of NY "back in the day"
In the 80s in the UK, most disco dj's were white, 99% of radio dj's were white. Also even if M was racist (he isn't) its not against black people.
It was such a stupid stance, that it never really became an accepted theory until years and many more M wind up's later


I notice Johnny made a point of saying how British the song is, something, M used to do ALOT about most Smiths things - but hey don't mention that it means its too "Johnny Foreigner "
The only Foreigners I dislike are those in the band Foreigner
 

SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
A great song that represents later-era Smiths well. No comment on the controversy surrounding it as I think it's baseless... but if anyone is unfamiliar and would like to read about it - here's a brief summary.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Ironically, I remember this getting loads of BBC radio play at the time. Including on the Steve Wright show.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I was actually introduced to “Panic” via Carter USM’s 1992 b-side cover of it. I still kind of like their version:

 

Redacted

I think I must be, absolutely, a total sex object.
For a while, I used to end the day with half a glass of wine and some Smiths. This one always made me want to dance around the living room. It never occurred to me that there were any racist implications here, obviously because there aren't and I did relate to the sentiment that a lot of music said nothing to me about my life, esp compared to The Smiths. Marr sounds a little too Gary Glitter for my taste in this, it's not very unique.
I really love Mike's drumming in the 2nd vid and the little back up singer is cute, great version
 
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