Where were you when you bought "Viva Hate" and/or "Suedehead"?

hand in glove

Life is never kind
I purchased Viva Hate at The Record Exchange in 1989 after watching the Suedehead video on MTV.
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Ketamine Sun

'viva hate' ? haven't bought that one yet, is it any good ?


That’s so cool. I remember wishing I had the cassette so I could provide it to him. I have had it for many years now but didn’t at the time.

I remember from those AOL message boards that I got a tape from someone with Black Eyed Susan on it when it existed but hadn’t been released yet. I don’t remember what I would have traded to that person though.

Mostly I remember the contests that Howie would post. I won lots of stuff like posters of Sire bands, some Belly promo stuff, a copy of Peepholism if I remember correctly and some other things.

The best one was when he put up a contest about a Smiths lyric and I was the first one to answer correctly. I got an email from Howie’s email address telling me that I had won. But it was written by Morrissey! I still remember word for word what it said: “Congratulations, you have won my left leg. Intractably yours, Morrissey”. When I read the email, I could see that Howie was online at the time (as you could on aol back then) so I sent an instant message and he said he was sitting in his office with Morrissey and he was showing Morrissey how email and the internet worked (this was 1996). I said all the crazy fan stuff like “I love you Morrissey”, etc. I live about an hour from where they were. I wanted to ask if I could come up and meet him but I think I decided that was too pushy and lame to do. Anyways, a few days later, in the mail I received a big Southpaw Grammar poster signed “I love you too. God Bless You, Morrissey” or something like that.

Hi Jeff, that's exactly right! I saw Howie's post on AOL, and he called me. He told me Morrissey had searched high and low in his house (would that have been Manchester at the time?) and even he didn't have a copy. Howie told me he had heard from a few fans who did have a copy, but they wanted thousands of dollars for it. He assured me that the cassette wouldn't be damaged in the mastering and that it would be returned to me. I told him all I wanted in return was maybe a postcard from Morrissey thanking me for the cassette, which I never got, but Howie did send me a box of about 40 Sire CDs from various artists by way of thanks, which I thought was nice. And they sent the cassingle back, which I still have around here, somewhere.

I remember my Dad thought it was a great story about the power of the Internet -- a record company reaching out to fans to release a record. He was right, it was a cool story, more about the Internet and the power to connect people than about Morrissey or the Smiths. I think it's interesting that Howie went on to become a progressive blogger (Down with Tyranny!) -- he definitely got the power of the Internet early on. Them was lovely days.


Junior Member
I didn't buy it. Morrissey was kind of a non-entity for me in late 1991. I was aware of his existence, but he had not not entered my life (I hadn't heard anything of his) nearly as much as my other teenage obsession, The Cure. I was living in Corvallis, Oregon, and regularly going to Happy Trails records with the little money I had, and buying anything Cure that I could get my hands on. Incense scented posters- (because they always burned incense to hide the smell of pot from the back room) postcards, cassettes, vinyl, VHS etc. They knew me as The Cure kid, and any time there was something new, I would be informed about it as soon as I came in.

One day, there was nothing new for me to buy, so I remember I picked up Once Upon A Time, the Siouxsie singles and was ready to leave disappointed when the young woman behind the counter asked if I liked Morrissey. I was pretty dismissive and figured I'd spend what I had left on something to eat, or some coffee, but she insisted that I needed to listen to him. When I said maybe I would, she reached into the case and pulled out a copy of Viva Hate and told me "Just take it. I want you to go and listen to this. It will change your life." I thought she was being a little dramatic, but I took it and distinctly remember looking at the shot on the cover, and being intrigued by the half smirk on his face, eyes hidden in shadow, and thinking that he looked like he either knew something I didn't, or was in on a joke that I didn't get.

I remember sitting outside on a bench as the weather turned gray, and hitting play on my walkman. The directness and accusatory nature of "Were you and he lovers- and would you say so if you were?" Just floored me. Each word enunciated with crystal clear precision, spat out with such bile, yet humor and class. By "Leather elbow on a tweed coat- is that the best you can do?" My life was changed. Here was a guy who chewed on language until the juices ran down his chin. A guy who didn't need to hide behind metaphor and smokescreens like The Cure. Where they took my confusion and angst, and all of the wonderfully awful feelings of adolescence and change, and ran them through a filter of ache and beauty, here was a guy who just laid it out bare, in a way that felt like the music shook you by the lapels and screamed you awake, and said that these feelings that made you feel like you could never be "one of them" somehow made you not only not one of them but somehow "better than them" by virtue of introspection, sensitivity, and kindness. That yes, words could be a weapon, and words could save your life and raise you up above the mundane.

This is fantastic an heroic act, and why we should all use record shops when we can.

spectral hand

all mouth and no trousers
I bought "Suedehead" on all formats (7", 12", CD and cassette single) on the day of release, but for various reasons listened only to the cassette for the first few weeks. I wondered why "Hairdresser on Fire" didn't include the song's title in its lyrics, but then again, neither did "Suedehead" itself. I eventually realised that I had one of the mispressed cassettes with "The Ordinary Boys" instead of "Hairdresser", so I was one of the first members of the public to hear the former before its eventual release on "Viva Hate".

Anyway, the release of this single was an amazing moment. After months of dread about what his solo career might bring, here it was - one of the best songs of his entire career, with a cracking set of b-sides to boot. Joyous.


Always crashing in the same car
This is fantastic an heroic act, and why we should all use record shops when we can.
I wish I knew her name. It would be funny to look her up and thank her/chew her out for making this change in my life. :lbf:

Quando quando quando

Well-Known Member
A little nostalgia thread, because I like to hear people's stories...

Where did you buy "Suedehead" and/or "Viva Hate" for the first time?

For myself, I purchased "Viva Hate" on LP at Pitchfork Records and Tapes on Main Street in Concord, NH, on the day of its release (March 14, 1988). I still couldn't drive then, and I remember my mother had to pick something up at the K Mart on Fort Eddy Road after we went to the record store, and, while she ran in, I sat in the car and assiduously read the lyric sheet. When we finally got home, I was absolutely appalled by the opening riff of "Alsatian Cousin." 'Dear God,' I remember thinking, 'what have they done to you?' Later that evening I called my best friend and played him "Everyday Is Like Sunday" over the phone. 'How does he do it?' he said, with admiration.

In April of that year I went to England with my mother and I bought the 12" single of "Suedehead" at the HMV in London. I'm sure there were several HMVs there at the time, and I don't remember which one -- maybe near Piccadilly Circus? I also loaded up on about half a dozen Smiths 12" singles, as well as a cassingle of "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish", which -- true story! -- would later be used by Sire to master "What's the World?" for the b-side of the "Sweet and Tender Hooligan" cd single released in 1995. Literally, every recording you now hear of that song came from the cassingle I bought that day.

Later that summer I found the CD single of "Suedehead" in a record store in Manchester, NH, and listened to "Oh Well, I'll Never Learn" as though it were the rarest and most precious thing in the world. Which, to me, it was.

Truly, I'd forgotten the side story of "What's the World?" when I started this post. So, in real earnestness, where were you when you first bought Morrissey's first single and LP?

To answer the question in the thread title: At the record shop. :)


Viva Hate was the start for me as a music fan. Hadn't bothered much with music at all before then. I had bought my first cd player and very expensive speakers from Snell, made in Denmark from walnut. They were such good value I sold them over 10 years later and got more than half of the value back for them cause the danish company stopped making them and some american company took over which meant the quality was supposed to be worse according to the real geeks.

Anyway, I was still in my boy room 5 storeys up in this house


when I bought and listened to Viva Hate. Being a massive United fan I had no idea there was such a local singing poet and genius from the hood. The album of course summed up my life past and present and gave me a lot of answers when it came to feelings and how I viewed certain people in my life.

I spent a lot of time by the window in my boys room which had a great view. The forest in the distance as a backdrop and the car parks where people came and left. The motorway with cars passing by and football fields where local clubs trained and games were played that I could sit and watch from the comfort of my boys room.

I'm not sure which local record store I bought the album from but it must have been from Sound de Light which was owned by a woman looking like Sarah Jessica Parker. They had very pink plastic bags for the customers and those of us buying indie records were seen as very weird creatures until a real indie place opened run by a man that later opened a rock club that even managed to book Ride for a gig which was so weird that they came to Eskilstuna of all places.

Viva Hate had a huge impact on me and no other album managed to be like all the best novels and films at the same time. It created a landscape where a day dreaming loner could spend entire days escaping the real world. Even my mother became fascinated with Morrissey and made me describe what he was singing about cause older generation swedes were never able to understand english very well.

I can still see it before me how I sat there and listened and looked out of the window like a lost ghost and of course this was all happening during my worst depression when I tried and sadly failed to end my life twice. The only benefit of coming home after weeks in hospital was to be able to listen to your favourite records of which Viva Hate was the ultimate one.

The Ordinary Boys would be the one I have to pick to sum up my feelings back then cause something I will never ever understand is those local sad boys going around town in their cars and in 1992 I cut all ties with my friends as I had begun to travel to England for gigs and football while my old friends went to local clubs for discos and that kind of soul destroying events.

Not to mention the girls busy getting pregnant unable to understand the world knowing only what they could see before them.

Sadly swedish director Peter Birro many years later made a tv series with the same name as the album which was absolutely dreadful.



Gear Changer
Suedehead was the track that got me into Morrissey and The Smiths, but it was a year after release in 1989, it was on a compilation which I had asked a friend to record onto tape.

I was after C'mon Everybody by Eddie Cochran for some reason, and Suedehead was the following track which immediately intrigued me as I had been seeing Morrissey's name on walls and scratched into chairs in the drama hall at school. Almost 30 years later, I am still hooked...

Famous when dead

Day of release, UK, a small Cotswold town. The record shop owner didn't like Morrissey, so I left with a rather large cardboard shop window display which was slightly 3D as there was an over-large record cover protruding from the middle of a large card stand. Took it home on the bus to some very odd looks (nothing new there).
This was just a great time to be a collector - especially with things like German maxi singles, Japanese 3" cds (with obligatory adapter) and the single/radio/press interest building up to Viva.
Peel was enthusiastic about the single and ultimately lead to this show of support:

Suedehead & the wonderful B-sides now had fans clamouring for this album and I don't think it truly disappointed them looking back.
Proper halcyon days.
Listened to it on tape on the bus - just overwhelmed by it. Tearful and relieved to be honest - as the post-Smiths uncertainty was giving way to the solo development and it sounded good.


I do remember the first time listen to Suedehead on the radio in March 1988.
I felt really sad that Smiths was no longer existed and shocked about Morrissey's transition to a solo artist.

I didn't buy the single, but in May 1988 I bought a CD of Viva Hate from Woolworth in Bournemouth.
It was the first CD I bought.


Death to Racists
Bought it on cassette in Our Price, Margate, for 4.99, mainly because it was No.1 on their chart and I didn't know what to buy and it was more interesting than the other options.
That was almost the start of everything, not even sure how much Smiths I had heard at that point, but remember seeing the video of Girlfriend in a Coma on The Roxy and not liking it. (Was also annoyed that Strangeways knocked Bad off the No.1 spot in the WH Smiths chart!) Of course, I was aware of Suedehead and quite liked it (reluctantly).

I remember going to my dad's girlfriend's house after buying it and putting it on and everyone seemed confused/surprised as Alsatian Cousin blared out. I also later played the tape at my friend Oscar's house in Pegwell and we fell in love with Everyday is like Sunday, before it was a single.


Raced out after school to take the Ubahn to the WOM record shop in the Breite Gasse.


I found a purse while walking my girlfriend home which had a couple of quid in and a ten pound Woolies voucher, so I emptied the contents into my pocket and lobbed the purse into the dock, then nipped to Woolworths, Goole, and bought the Viva Hate cd for £11.99. I bought Suedehead from Crash Records in Leeds with (I think) Dominion by The Sisters Of Mercy. It’s only recently that I’ve felt a little bit guilty about stealing someone’s voucher, but they would have probably wasted it.


Death to Racists
It's very good album (great looked at misty-eyed) by the way. I listened to Ordinary Boys the other week and realised it was one of his best songs.


Death to Racists
I found a purse while walking my girlfriend home which had a couple of quid in and a ten pound Woolies voucher, so I emptied the contents into my pocket and lobbed the purse into the dock, then nipped to Woolworths, Goole, and bought the Viva Hate cd for £11.99. I bought Suedehead from Crash Records in Leeds with (I think) Dominion by The Sisters Of Mercy. It’s only recently that I’ve felt a little bit guilty about stealing someone’s voucher, but they would have probably wasted it.

I remember when I lived in Grimsby, there was a carpet advert that went


May 1988, I had just moved in with Gigie (we were students). During a party in the apartment with the Gadzarts buddies, one of them left me the tape to listen it later. I was probably drunken by storing the apartment that night. I have the vague memory that Gigie found a tape into the fridge the next day. This was the first I heard about the music of Mr. Morrissey, by this friend. Yet I knew a little bit about the Smiths. But I would be frank, I remember not having listened to the tape. But many years later, I became more interested in music, after having spent my time of leisure and vacation doing mountaineering, practiced potholing, main sources of inspiration for drawing and painting. Whatever I do is linked, even if it takes many years to achieve my purposes. I am very slow into the life.

Into the nineties, I saw the CD at the Fnac and I bought it out of curiosity by remembering vaguely this evening. The first song I instantly liked was Late Night, Maudlin Street. Then I read and examined the lyrics of every song like I use to do for every album. Every Day is Like Sunday reminded me of Royan where I disliked going during the winter holiday, when I was a teenager. In general, I can’t project myself through the lyrics of M. Morrissey. This is certainly why I wasn’t concerned by The Smiths. But during the eighties, I was not concerned at all by the music in general. This friend who had given me the tape was half English by his mother and used to go to England. I don’t really like the drawling vocals on Ordinary Boys in particular but this style is suitable for the theme of the song.

I have music periods, not always : I do not have a large collection of CDs / if I draw, I do not hear the music, it turns for nothing (and also, you can talk to me or shout in a vacuum) / the most important for me into music is not the music itself but the lyrics / my favorite musician is Tchaïkovski (and I read several autobios). And the only man I would like to know is Michelangelo, not a musician or a singer ! The only women I would like to know are Camille Claudel and Rosa Bonheur !

I’ve got only these albums : Viva Hate, Your Arsenal, Vaulxhall and I and Low In High School ; I would have wanted WPINYB and YOR and others now, because Morrissey music is still a fresh music (for me).

PS : I know I’ve got a bad English. One day at school, a teacher, exceeded, said me “go out if you don’t want to learn” so I packed all my stuff and as I was walking towards the classroom door, he asked me “where do you go?” - “I go out because I’m don’t want to learn”. Then, he taught me English only with lyrics from JJ Cale. And I became interested by this king of poets who sings about the life. This teacher liked me and I liked him. That’s why I learnt.
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