Sparks

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Morrissey covered Moon Over Kentucky live in 2009 and 2016.

"Suedehead" was remixed by Ron and Russell Mael. From the Sparks mailing list (April, 2005):

THE MAELS MIX MOZ
Ron and Russell were invited to take part in a themed remix album called The 80’s Remixed on which various artists get to remix another compatible or comparative artist whom they admire. Warner Bros. gave the Maels the choice of remixing a Smiths song or a Morrissey song. They chose to do a unique and extreme 6-1/2 minute remix of “Suedehead”, and Moz happily gave them his blessing. The masterful Mael mix is heavy on vocals and set to a completely different chord progression. The label was gracious enough to let Ron and Russell do their own thing, sparing them the horror of doing a redundant club mix. The album will be released in the UK in April.

Morrissey's early observation in Autobiography:

"I wander into CBGBs, where I find Russell Mael, and I blush my way through a request for a photograph, and there I stand – 17, clumsy and shy, with Russell, smiling beneath the CBGBs canopy. The first five Sparks albums had been constant companions. I had first heard This town ain’t big enough for both of us as Radio One’s Record of the Week, which they played daily at around 5:15. I had no idea who Sparks were, but I thought the singer – whoever she was – had the most arresting voice I’d ever heard. In time, of course, Sparks exploded, the color of madness. Ron Mael sat at the keyboard like an abandoned ventriloquist’s doll, and brother Russell sang in French italics with the mad urgency of someone tied to a tree. It was magnificent, and the ferocious body of sound was a speedboat in overdrive. The life and death question was: what is it? As children the Mael Brothers probably slept in bunk-coffins in an unused wing of the house, playing with surgical instruments whilst other kids of Los Angeles addressed the surf. The straitjacket sound of Sparks could never be fully explained, and even now their historic place is confusing since they belong apart. Lyrically, Ron Mael is as close to Chaucer as the pop world will ever get – elevated and poetic, nine parts demon, and I am very thankful:

You mentioned Kant and I was shocked ... so shocked; You know, where I come from, none of the girls have such foul tongues.

The lyrics of Ron Mael and the vocal sound of Russell Mael are solid and original factors, so unique that by the very laws of existence I can hardly believe they exist. The sound registered is very tough, although the faces are fixed in imperishable marble. What are Sparks? A miracle, of sorts, and the dead child is momentarily revived."

(Morrissey is referencing lyrics from the Sparks song "Hasta Mañana, Monsieur" from their 1974 album "Kimono My House").

From: Turning The Inside Out. - Morrissey Central (July 5, 2021):

SAM:

On the subject of Sparks, they’ve attacked you in recent years. Does this upset you?

M:

Amazingly, no, because I’m quite used to it. I stood by Sparks for many years and I promoted them in my own humble way whenever I could, and they were famously people without opinions so I was surprised that they kicked me in the teeth. It came across as an almost fiendish ingratitude. Oh, the pain of parting! [laughs]. They will always be important to me as a memory.

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Brothers Ron and Russell Mael from Los Angeles, USA have been making diverse music since 1969 under various incarnations of Sparks. In 1979 they ditched the guitars and keyboards of glam geek rock and started working with Italian producer Giorgio Moroder, beginning a love affair with electronic music. Since then they have worked with a variety of people including Finitribe, Les Rita Mitsouko, Erasure, Faith No More and Franz Ferdinand.

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Sparks is an American pop and rock duo formed by brothers Ron (keyboards) and Russell Mael (vocals) in Los Angeles. The duo is noted for their quirky approach to songwriting; their music is often accompanied by sophisticated and acerbic lyrics—often about women, and sometimes containing literary or cinematic references—and an idiosyncratic, theatrical stage presence, typified by the contrast between Russell's animated, hyperactive frontman antics and Ron's deadpan scowling. Russell Mael has a distinctive wide-ranging voice, while Ron Mael plays keyboards in an intricate and rhythmic style. Their frequently changing styles and visual presentations have kept the band at the forefront of modern, artful pop music.Career highlights include "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us", which reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart in 1974; the disco hit "The Number One Song in Heaven" in 1979, resulting from a collaboration with Giorgio Moroder and marking a stylistic shift towards new wave/synth-pop; "When I'm with You", which made the Australian and French Singles Charts in 1980; the single "I Predict", which provided Sparks' first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 60 in May 1982; the 1983 single "Cool Places" with the Go-Go's rhythm guitarist and vocalist Jane Wiedlin, and "When Do I Get to Sing 'My Way'", which was the top airplay record in Germany for 1994.The 2002 release of Lil' Beethoven, the duo's self-proclaimed "genre-defining opus", fused repetitive song structures with orchestral arrangements, and brought them renewed critical success. In 2015, the band released an album with Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand, as the supergroup FFS, titled FFS. In 2017, returning to a rock-group format, Sparks released Hippopotamus, which entered the UK Albums Chart at no. 7, as did their next album, A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip, released in 2020, bringing their tally of UK Top 10 albums to four. In 2021, Sparks were involved in two films: the Leos Carax musical film Annette for which they wrote all songs (winning the César Award for Best Original Music), and the Edgar Wright documentary The Sparks Brothers recounting the history of the band. The band's latest album, The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte, was released on May 26, 2023, via Island Records, and again entered the UK Albums Chart at no. 7.

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