"Ask" [original edition]
October 1986


Ask (single version)
Cemetry Gates

UK 7" [Rough Trade RT194]
Australia 7" [CBS RTANZ019]
Germany 7" [Teldec/Zensor 6.14721]
Holland 7" [Megadisc MD5282]
Italy 7" [CGD RGH10707]
Sweden 7" [Rough Trade RT194]


Ask (single version)
Cemetry Gates
Golden Lights

UK 12" [Rough Trade RTT194]
UK CD5 [Rough Trade RTT194CD]
UK CMS [Rough Trade RTT194C]
Australia CD5 [Festival D1077]
Canada 12" [Sire 92 05910]
Germany 12" [Teldec/Zensor 6.20676 (in black or clear vinyl)]
Germany 12" [Teldec/Zensor 16.20502 (in clear vinyl)]
Greece 12" [Virgin VG2076Z]
Holland 12" [Megadisc MD125282]
Italy 12" [RT/Virgin RGH15272]
Portugal 12" [Transmedia RTT 12194 (T/12194)]
Spain 12" [Nuevos Medios 41-229M]
USA 12" [Sire 9 20591-0]


Shoplifters Of The World Unite
Cemetry Gates

Australia 12" [CBS RTANZ12019]

Additional information:
"Ask" was first released in Australia in late 1986 on 7" only, without artwork (it was slipped inside a generic record company sleeve) just like the "Panic" single before it. After becoming the second major hit for the Smiths in that country (the first being "This Charming Man"), it was re-released in early 1987 on 7" and 12", with artwork, as a single from "The World Won't Listen" compilation album.

"Ask" was re-released by Warner in 1995 as a single from the "Singles" album.


Artwork information:
Yootha Joyce on the set of the 1965 film "Catch Us If You Can" which is known in North America under the title "Having A Wild Weekend". She appears on the front of this single in all countries where it was released except in Germany and Australia. The photo has an orange/brown tint on some copies of the Dutch 7" while the band name is in black on the Spanish 12" single.

Because the Yootha Joyce artwork had already been used in Germany for the "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" single, this one showed Colin Campbell from "The Leather Boys" [1963]. The photo was taken from the January 1964 issue of "Films And Filmmaking". This photo was used again in 1988 for the "Headmaster Ritual" cd-single.

The cover artwork in Australia was obviously not designed by Morrissey. It shows him in front of a 1986 tour poster of a boy eating an ice lollie. The photo is credited to Pat Bellis (aka Jo Novark). The 7" and 12" have minor layout differences. The original release of this single was slipped inside a generic label sleeve. Only 1987 reissues were sold inside the picture sleeve displayed on the left of this page.


Etchings on vinyl:
UK 7" and 12":

German 12":

The UK a-side etching is a pun on the Elvis song "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" while the b-side etching is likely a pun on this single's b-side song "Cemetry Gates".


Additional release date information:
UK 7"/12": 20 October 1986
UK cassette: December 1986
USA/Canada: late October 1986
Australia 7" and 12": early 1987
UK and Australia cd-singles: late 1988


Chart peak information:
UK: 14
USA: didn't chart


UK: White label 12"s and a one-track Vanderquest promo video were dispatched to the relevant media for promotion.

Australia: The stock edition of the 7" was sent to radio in a generic record company sleeve while the 12"s were stamped on the back of the sleeve.

Canada: Copies with a hole punched out of a corner of the sleeve may have served promotional purposes, but this is just speculation.

Germany: Copies of the stock 7" were sent to media with a press release. Some of them also had a plugger sticker on the sleeve.

Italy: A corner of the sleeve of stock copies of the Italian 7" (and apparently the UK 12") were pin-stamped with the words CAMPIONE GRATUITO. A jukebox 7" featured "Ask" on one side and a song by Sergio Caputo on the other. The 4-track various artists sampler 12" (CGD INT15276) featuring the title track of this single is actually a promo for the "The World Won't Listen" album.

USA: Stock copies were made into promos by being gold-stamped with a promo warning on the front of the sleeve.



"... it was quite crucial to release a single that was a slight antidote to 'Panic', because if the next single had been a slight protest, regardless of the merits of the actual song, people would say, 'Here we go again.' That's why we put out 'Ask'. The idea there is... Well, restraint is a decent thing really, but it's nice to throw caution to the wind as well -- to jump in at the deep end."
- Morrissey, Record Mirror, 14 February 1987

"Yeah, that [recording 'Golden Lights'] was another low point. Those are the two low points of our recording career, certainly. They're really inferior, and don't deserve a place alongside our own material."
- Johnny Marr discussing "Golden Lights" and "Work Is A Four Letter Word", Record Collector, November/December 1992



"The word is gnomic. Perhaps I should join all you thousands in pondering those inscrutable epigrams. 'Ask' sounds lovely in the kinda-folk, kinda-high-life manner we know and love so well and that's enough for me."
- Mat Snow, New Musical Express, 18 October 1986

"I don't know... is this one of those skinny white English junkie bands? Am I hip enough to like this? Ooooooh, nice chorus: 'If it's not love, then it's the bomb that will bring us together.' Gee, I'd sure like to hang out with these guys - I bet they're a laugh a minute. On a scale of one to ten, I'd have to say this record is swell."
- Weird Al Yankovich, Guest Reviewer, Star Hits