The Smiths A-Z: "Well I Wonder"

Famous when dead


Clearly influenced by:
Elizabeth Smart: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept (1945).
  • They obey the glint in the middle of my glazed eye, for it is the fierce last stand of all I have.
  • Threateners of life are horrible enough, and she whom I have injured, and whose agony it is my penalty to watch, lies gasping, but still living, on the land.
  • My dear, my darling, do you hear me where you sleep?
(Sourced from my Epub version).

Never played live by The Smiths or Morrissey.
Although he did do a partial a cappella snippet during the musical pause in Speedway:
"Gasping - dying - but somehow still alive.
This is the fierce last stand of all I am...
Please keep me in mind."

(see above: Davis, CA - Robert Mondavi Center at UC Davis - March 4, 2013) .

From The Smiths FAQ by John D. Luerssen(2015):

"The genesis of “Well I Wonder” dates to a home demo Marr cut in late 1983, which was then reattempted while still an instrumental during the London sessions with Porter at Jam Studios the following July. It became the flip side to the Rough Trade pressing of the “How Soon Is Now?” single, with Marr praising the song to Record Collector in November 1992 by saying, “It’s one of those things that a modern group could try and emulate but never get the spirit of. It’s so simple.”
Johnny began finalizing the instrumental upon moving back to Manchester in the autumn of 1984. The move home was intentional, in order for him to get the proper atmosphere for the tracks. The Smiths anticipated that the song would be popular with their fans, because, as Marr told Uncut in ’08, “It had that real sense of yearning.”"

I've always found this quite haunting.


I always loved the swelling guitar chords, and backing vocals, M’s ending falsetto, and of course, when you were young… those words.

Perfection. 💕

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This is their best track, A work of genius. totally f***ing amazing a stone-cold classic.
I personally think M has been trying to remake this ever since. Saint In A Stainglass Window, as nice as it is, isn't a patch on this
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Do you see me when we pass?” conjures up the ache and longing of quietly passing one’s objet d’obsession in the high school hallway. Well, the whole song does, really. One of the Smiths’ most beautiful and desperate songs and unquestionably in their top ten. A rich reason (among many) why Meat is Murder is their finest album.
Oh, forgot:
Honourable mention - whichever BBC Sound Effects Library record they used for the rain.
Adds to the atmosphere.
My life’s private soundtrack. My private life’s only soundtrack. I first heard this song when I was 14, and it nearly made me crawl out of my body. If I could have, I would have.

It pierced me straight to the darkest depth of my inner core. The song shattered me. I never would have dreamt however that hearing this song would remain one of the most pivotal moments of my life, a moment frozen and suspended in time and in all eternity for me - for how profoundly this song affected me, for how deeply it intoxicated me, and for how completely it floored me. Haunting, yes. Desperate, all-encompassingly. And one of the most beautiful songs of all time.

This song held a mirror in front of me and introduced me to parts of myself that I hadn’t even yet met, that until that point I didn’t even know were there, at a time when I didn’t even know what life was yet.

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An absolute gut-punch with gorgeous instrumentation. One of the reasons why MIM reigns as my favorite Smiths album. The album is just so raw, blunt and honest; I love it.
One of the best examples of the odd singles choices made during The Smiths' career ; to me, Well I Wonder is THE obvious choice on Met is Murder.
One of their all-time best songs. The best song off of MiM, that’s for sure.
This song is also the only Rick Astley Smiths cover I can bear to listen to.
The others that he's done are just a bit unsubtle, but this one's pretty good.
Nice falsetto.
Absolutely beautiful track, musically, & lyrically.
"Gasping - dying - but somehow still alive
This is the final stand of all I am"

Stunning perfection.
Simply off the charts with beauty and emotional intensity. Morrissey & Marr were amazing together - sometimes the collaborations ranged from very good to mind-blowingly amazing. I view this as up there at their creative zenith (not that they didn't do brilliant work to follow).

@Nikita well I wonder how well this would have done as a single ;). For singles - aren't you looking at not necessarily what's the best songs - but what would get the most airplay? On the TQID, "I Know It's Over" is one of the best songs... but probably an unlikely choice for a single. Who knows, it might have charted better than TJIFA.

Agreed Alan's version shows how well it could work in a live setting. I could see it as the last song before the encore or as the last song of the night.
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