The Smiths A-Z: "Shoplifters Of The World Unite"

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
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(Photo by James R. Reid, Memphis Press-Scimitar offices, '55).





Next up in the push towards completing The Smiths A-Z is Shoplifters Of The World Unite.
Recorded in November 1986 and produced solely by a post-accident Johnny Marr (Stephen Street was asked, but was unavailable).
The track was engineered by a yet-to-be-famous Alan Moulder.
'RTT 195' was then released in January, 1987 - featuring a short-haired Elvis image & light pink/gold colour scheme including a custom carrier bag if you were lucky.

THE_SMITHS_SHOPLIFTER+-+PROMO+BAG-297885.jpg
THE_SMITHS_SHOPLIFTER+-+PROMO+BAG-297885b.jpg


20f1240923f087cc937ec352255d0dc4--idea-plans-the-smiths.jpg

(Peepholism: Morrissey's own Shoplifters plan).

There are lots of known influences & 'lifts' from other sources in this song (musical too) - how many can you name?
It reached the heady heights of a UK #12.
Played only once at live concerts by The Smiths (at their last gig - Brixton '86) and 222 times thereafter by Morrissey (to date).
It has been cited by several as a favourite of Morrissey's.

From Autobiography:

"As Shoplifters of the world unite is released, the Smiths’ dramatizations are finally of national significance. The graveyard school of poetry mixes well with incongruously striking guitar melodies, and such mixed metaphors are suddenly pointed to as a new ‘type’, and a generation of similarly styled cognoscenti appear behind us."

The record is dedicated to Ruth Polsky who met an untimely end in 1986.

Good, bad or indifferent: please feel free to add your thoughts, observations & trivia about this song below.
Regards,
FWD.
 

Redacted

I think I must be, absolutely, a total sex object.
I had some paperbacks about the Smiths, which I think are long out of print and I don't have them anymore.
According to one of these books this is the song that was supposed to be named You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby- which of course, I can't verify now.
 

SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
The peak of The Smiths mountain? Not including Wolverhampton '88 wasn't this the first Smiths song Morrissey played live?
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Probably as good as it ever got for The Smiths and that TOTP performance was incredible.
It was my Bowie-Starman moment if you like although I had already bought all the singles and albums by the time this aired.

The were a gang not a band then and Morrissey had such beautiful skin. What a way to start a Monday morning.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
(Many thanks to @Famous when dead for carrying on with this A-Z after I ran out of steam with it!)

I can't imagine anyone *not* liking this song, Smiths fan or otherwise.

Four months after this came out, I was arrested for shoplifting in central London, with a bag full of Smiths rarities from the big HMV and Virgin stores. My mum was convinced it was this song that made me do it, I didn't have the heart to tell her I'd been shoplifting for two years before that.
 
B

Bird on a branch

Guest
View attachment 83890
(Photo by James R. Reid, Memphis Press-Scimitar offices, '55).





Next up in the push towards completing The Smiths A-Z is Shoplifters Of The World Unite.
Recorded in November 1986 and produced solely by a post-accident Johnny Marr (Stephen Street was asked, but was unavailable).
The track was engineered by a yet-to-be-famous Alan Moulder.
'RTT 195' was then released in January, 1987 - featuring a short-haired Elvis image & light pink/gold colour scheme including a custom carrier bag if you were lucky.

View attachment 83892 View attachment 83893

View attachment 83891
(Peepholism: Morrissey's own Shoplifters plan).

There are lots of known influences & 'lifts' from other sources in this song (musical too) - how many can you name?
It reached the heady heights of a UK #12.
Played only once at live concerts by The Smiths (at their last gig - Brixton '86) and 222 times thereafter by Morrissey (to date).
It has been cited by several as a favourite of Morrissey's.

From Autobiography:

"As Shoplifters of the world unite is released, the Smiths’ dramatizations are finally of national significance. The graveyard school of poetry mixes well with incongruously striking guitar melodies, and such mixed metaphors are suddenly pointed to as a new ‘type’, and a generation of similarly styled cognoscenti appear behind us."

The record is dedicated to Ruth Polsky who met an untimely end in 1986.

Good, bad or indifferent: please feel free to add your thoughts, observations & trivia about this song below.
Regards,
FWD.


Love Love Love it! All those Elvis-esque gyrations on TOTP...and the camera even caught Andy smiling. Morrissey looks so tall and well, perfect.

The song does not age. It's as relevant as ever.

Workers of the World Unite.
<3
 
A

Anonomous

Guest
View attachment 83890
(Photo by James R. Reid, Memphis Press-Scimitar offices, '55).





Next up in the push towards completing The Smiths A-Z is Shoplifters Of The World Unite.
Recorded in November 1986 and produced solely by a post-accident Johnny Marr (Stephen Street was asked, but was unavailable).
The track was engineered by a yet-to-be-famous Alan Moulder.
'RTT 195' was then released in January, 1987 - featuring a short-haired Elvis image & light pink/gold colour scheme including a custom carrier bag if you were lucky.

View attachment 83892 View attachment 83893

View attachment 83891
(Peepholism: Morrissey's own Shoplifters plan).

There are lots of known influences & 'lifts' from other sources in this song (musical too) - how many can you name?
It reached the heady heights of a UK #12.
Played only once at live concerts by The Smiths (at their last gig - Brixton '86) and 222 times thereafter by Morrissey (to date).
It has been cited by several as a favourite of Morrissey's.

From Autobiography:

"As Shoplifters of the world unite is released, the Smiths’ dramatizations are finally of national significance. The graveyard school of poetry mixes well with incongruously striking guitar melodies, and such mixed metaphors are suddenly pointed to as a new ‘type’, and a generation of similarly styled cognoscenti appear behind us."

The record is dedicated to Ruth Polsky who met an untimely end in 1986.

Good, bad or indifferent: please feel free to add your thoughts, observations & trivia about this song below.
Regards,
FWD.

The Smiths broke up 35 years ago today. That tid bit from 91 X radio San Diego moments ago.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
The Smiths broke up 35 years ago today. That tid bit from 91 X radio San Diego moments ago.
Not sure that's entirely true.
August 1st's NME broke the story and their Marr interview on the 8th all but said it.
I believe Rough Trade confirmed it 'officially' on September 14.
Personally, at the time, the August 1st 'rumour' piece confirmed what was already being thought by some of us.
Regards,
FWD.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Heck of a song.
Some say that Johnny "lifted" the guitar break from
The Violent Femmes cover of Children Of The Revolution. (1:58)



wow. It’s been said he lifted it from T. Rex, but that VF bit is much closer to Shoplifters.
 

Ossie

Human Being
Swoon. I used to sincerely believe that the Top of the Pops appearance were the three greatest minutes in the history of television.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
An enjoyable single and I will always feel nostalgic about hearing Morrissey sing it live at a time when it seemed unlikely that he would perform many Smiths songs.

Having said that, I wouldn't class it as one of my favourites.


Not meant to be remotely definitive, of course, but this song ranked 14th from 73 Smiths songs in the poll on this site and 7th from 73 songs on the Hoffman board.
 
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