The Smiths A-Z: "What's The World?"

Famous when dead


'Um ... this song was written by ... erm, erm..."

This is a cover of a song by James from their "Jimone" single (November, 1983).


Tim Booth on The Smiths & Morrissey:

“The Smiths were amazing with us. They covered one of our songs [‘What’s The World’] and at the time, Morrissey said we were the best band in the world. He saw me as a kindred spirit. I used to go to his house a lot – we had a close relationship. We’d go walking in cemeteries – quite Morrissey things! In those days, he was shy, nervous, wanting fame but afraid of it, and overwhelmed by the success they were having. He was vulnerable and easy to be friends with.”

(from NME: "Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! We put James’ Tim Booth to the test" - March 2, 2019).

Initially only available via cassette (RTT 198C - November, 1987), it would see a more accessible release in May, 1995 via the Sweet And Tender Hooligan single.

Played 7 times in Scotland, '85 by The Smiths.
Never by Morrissey.


God, I loved those early James singles sooooo much! They really were such a strange, oddball combination of influences but it worked so well. And I've always loved hearing Morrissey sing this one. (I've enjoyed some later James stuff too, but in a patchy kind of way.)
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