"Bigmouth Strikes Again"|
UK 7" [Rough Trade RT192]
Rigid sleeve (view front and back artwork on the left). Purple labels with light grey text in the classic Rough Trade layout and the band name at the top in white. Unlike earlier singles, this seems to only exist with a push-out centre. No copy with a solid centre has ever been reported.
RT 192 A-1U-1-1-6 / RT 192 B-1U-1-1-6
UK 7" [Rhino UK RHN192; 2008 reissue]
This was modeled on the original Rough Trade release. The sleeve is still rigid, but the image on the front is the slightly different one originally used on the 12" format. The catalogue number on the back of it was changed to RHN192, the Cartel credit was dropped and a barcode was added. The record has a solid centre. The catalogue number was also changed to RHN192 on the labels, and the Rough Trade logo was removed. Publishers on the right side are now Universal Music, etc.
UK 12" [Rough Trade RTT192]
The 12" features slightly alternate artwork to the 7" format (view left). Just like the latter, its labels are purple with light grey text in the classic Rough Trade layout and the band name at the top is in white. The inner sleeve is glossy and in the same purple hue as the labels. Some copies included the 12"x24" promo poster described below.
RTT 192 A1 / RTT 192 B1
RTT 192 A-1U-1-1-1 / RTT 192 B-1U-1-1-2
UK sheet music [Warner Bros Music Ltd and IMP 20767]
The sheet music for this single includes tabs to the three songs featured on it. View here.
UK 7" promo [Rough Trade RT192]
A very limited number of stock copies of the 7" were sent to media with a plugger sticker on them.
UK 12" promo [Rough Trade RTT192]
As was tradition since the beginning of 1985, this single was mainly promoted with white label copies of the 12" format. It appears that these were produced in more limited numbers than for earlier and later singles. They were usually slipped inside a white die-cut sleeve although some copies may have been mailed out in picture sleeves. Some copies were sent out to media or retail with a contact info press sheet and an 8x10 black and white press photo.
RTT 192 A-1U-1-1-1 / RTT 192 B-1U-1-1-1
RTT 192 A1 / RTT 192 B1
UK 30cm x 60cm promo poster (12" x 24")
UK 100cm x 152cm promo poster (40" x 60")
Subway size poster. View here.
UK 58cm x 87cm promo poster (23" x 34")
This poster is sized in between the two above. It features the same text as the subway size poster, but in a slightly different layout. View here. An alternate version sized 12"x15" has been reported, but this may be the same item with incorrect measurements.
UK ad 30cm x 40cm (12" x 16")
This full page ad shows the usual artwork with text printed over it in a layout very similar to the text layout on the posters above. "BigmouthStrikesAGain" appears at the top in black-grey-black, followed by "The New Release", "Thursday 22 May" and "Smiths". The track listing and catalogue number for the various formats are given at the bottom, with a Cartel distribution credit and a Rough Trade logo (image needed).
UK 7" test pressing [Rough Trade RT192]
UK 7" white label test pressings of singles released by the Smiths from March 1985 to the end of 1987 are quite rare. They are from the initial pressing of the 7" format, and their labels are simply white paper ones with sometimes a bit of release information handwritten on them. In this particular case the centre is a solid one and some copies have the catalogue number handwritten on the labels. The record is usually circulated inside a white die-cut bag, although some copies may have been paired with a picture sleeve a posteriori. About a handful or two are expected to have made it into the hands of the band members, label employees and entourage, and from there perhaps into the collections of a few lucky fans.
RT192A-1U-1-1-X1 / RT192B-1U-1-1-X1
UK 7" test pressing - Mayking [Rough Trade RT192]
The existence of test pressings from the Mayking pressing plant has also been reported. The usual white and blue printed labels are stamped in blue with the side letter and the date "28 Avril 1986", and the catalogue number is handwritten on them in blue.
RT-192-A1- / RT-192-B1-
UK 7" artwork proof with alternate credits
Printer proof of the unfolded 7" artwork (including back flaps, with registration and proofing bars) has made it into the hands of lucky collectors. The artwork was supposedly rejected for being too light, but it isn't really lighter than the final sleeve. The front and back images are more contrasting than the final product, and the colour is less washed, but mainly the credits on the back incorrectly state "Produced by The Smiths" and "Cover photography of James Dean", which was corrected for the final sleeve.
UK 12" artwork proof with alternate credits
Printer proof of the unfolded 12" artwork has made it to the collecting world. The artwork was supposedly rejected for being too light, but it isn't really lighter than the final sleeve. The front and back images are more contrasting than the final product, and the colour is less washed, but mainly the credits on the back incorrectly state "Produced by The Smiths" and "Cover photography of James Dean", which was corrected for the final sleeve.
UK 12" artwork proof?
This has been advertised as a "production printers proof fragile paper artwork sheet used by the designers Caryn Gough and Jo Slee as a work in progress". It looks like a usual printer's proof for a 12" front and back, but only the dark blue content can be seen. This means that only "Smiths" appears on the front, without any image. The James Dean image on the back is visible, with the credits in white over it, and the word "Again" from the title in blue above it. The Condor Litho Ltd logo appears in the two bottom corners. This item may have been a layer in the printing process of an early version of the 12" sleeve with the band name on the front and the back image appearing in blue (see Holland 7" below for similar alternate artwork).
UK 7" artwork proof of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
UK 12" artwork proof of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
When the time came to decide what would be the lead single off "The Queen Is Dead", some members of the Smiths and Rough Trade's staff wanted it to be "Bigmouth Strikes Again" while others wanted "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out". The former won, but artwork was still designed for the latter song. It has even been speculated that the artwork was designed for both titles at the same time and there seems to be evidence to the effect that 'Light' didn't actually precede 'Bigmouth': the "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" artwork features the correct credits on the back, while the "Bigmouth Strikes Again" early artwork has alternate credits that needed to be corrected (see above paragraph). Printer proofs of both formats have made it out to collectors. Actually there are two different versions for each format. The first has the title on the back printed in black, over 7 lines on the left (There / Is A / Light / That / Never / Goes / Out). The other variation looks more like the final "Bigmouth Strikes Again" back: the words in the title are all bunched together (no space between them) and alternate in colour between dark blue, grey and tan.
UK 12" acetate of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" [??]
A one-sided Master Room 12" acetate of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" has made it into the hands of at least one or two collectors. It has a white Master Room label with the title handwritten on it. For the time being this is assumed to be from the period in 1986 when it was being decided which song between it and "Bigmouth Strikes Again" would be released as a single. The 1992 WEA reissues were also cut on Master Room acetates, but not on 12" format, so it's safer to assume that this item belongs here. Any additional info about this item would be appreciated.
UK 7" - 2008 reissue 7" test pressing [Rhino UK RHN192]
The white label test pressing of this item has so far only been sold as a set with the test pressings of the other 7"s included in the "Singles Box". It is therefore described in the latter item's collectors appendix.
UK 7" - 2008 reissue 10" acetate [Rhino UK RHN192]
The 10" metal-based lacquer reference acetate for the 2008 7" reissue listed above comes housed in a 12" grey Heathmans Mastering sleeve with printed custom studio labels on the front (white with Heathmans Mastering logo on top, band name, title, catalogue numbers and '21/9/2008'). The matrix number is handwritten in the centre of the disc.
Australia 7" [CBS RTANZ015]
The front artwork of the Australian 7" sleeve is the same as its British counterpart. Credits were added on the back and the catalogue number there was changed for the Australian one. The record bears the standard green and red labels typical of Australia and New Zealand releases. However, the Australian labels feature the line "Made and distributed in Australia under licence" at the bottom and the sides are marked 'A' and 'B' instead of '1' and '2'.
Australia 12" [CBS RTANZ12012]
Just like the 7", the sleeve of the 12" differs from that of the British edition by additional credits and a corrected catalogue number on the back. The inner sleeve is made of white paper, a change from the round bottom anti-static type of inner sleeve usually found in Australian releases. Labels are the standard green and red ones. They feature the line "Made and distributed in Australia under licence" and the sides are labeled 'A' and (nothing). Normally these two facts would serve as guidelines to recognize an Australian pressing from a New Zealand one (see 7" format above), but in this particular case, no New Zealand 12" has been reported.
Australia 7" promo [CBS RTANZ015]
All Australian 7" promos before this one had black and white silhouette labels. For this single the promos have the same green and red labels as the stock copies, but the line "Promotion only - not for re-sale" is printed at the 11 o'clock position. The records were sent out in the usual stock sleeve. It has been reported that these may have been stamped with a promo warning on the back, but this needs to be confirmed.
Australia 12" promo [CBS RTANZ12012]
The promo 12"s are simply stock copies stamped with a promo warning in gold on the back. Nothing on the labels marks them as promos.
Australia various artists cassette sampler [SAMP113C]
"Bigmouth Strikes Again" was featured on an Australian sampler cassette titled "What's Instore" alongside music from other artists.
France 7" [Virgin 90259]
Up to this point the 12" had been the preferred format for Smiths singles in France. Starting with "Bigmouth Strikes Again", singles would only come out in that country on 7". Actually, only two titles would get released in France as singles after this one: the unique "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" and "Girlfriend In A Coma". The sleeve is quite thick and glossy and, as would be expected, it differs to its UK counterpart by a few changes in catalogue number and credits on the back. Also, the cover image is slightly more contrasting and the name of the band on the front is darker. The record has a large hole at its centre. The labels are retro-looking silver injection-moulded ones.
France 7" promo [Virgin 90259]
Stock copies of the 7" were stamped with a promo warning so they could be used for promotion of the single. The stamp states "Disque gratuit interdit a la vente", the words forming an embossed circle in the top left corner of the sleeve.
Greece 12" [Virgin VG2071Z]
The Greek 12" is a beginners favourite because of its unique track listing which pairs the single's three usual songs with the two non-album tracks from the "Panic" single. The two original a-sides are found here on side A, and the original b-sides (two of which are instrumentals) are on side B. The artwork is the "Bigmouth Strikes Again" one. The front has additional Greek text printed in a diagonal banner in the top left corner (view left). The back has more or less the same artwork, but the track listing has five song and there are additional credits and a different catalogue number. The record has classic green and red Virgin labels and is slipped inside a thick waxy inner sleeve.
Greece 12" promo [Virgin VG2071Z]
Promos are stock copies stamped "Sample not for sale" on the a-side label.
Greece 12" master tape [Virgin VG2071Z]
The master tape used to produce the Greek 12" has made it into the hands of some collector. It come in the usual 11" X 11" X 1" box with a 'CBS Mastering Services' label on it which lists all the recording info: band, producer, catalogue number, tracks, song lengths and plenty of technical information.
Holland 7" [Megadisc MD5286]
The usual Dutch 7" sleeve is just like the British one on the front, and it differs from it on the back in the catalogue number and additional Dureco/Indisc distribution credits. However, unlike the motherland edition, it is made of thin paper and is difficult to find nowadays without creases. The record has a large hole at its centre and the labels are the classic Megadisc 'circulaw saw' type.
Holland 7" alternate sleeve and labels [Megadisc MD5286]
A highly collectible alternate edition to the above has made it into the hands of a few lucky collectors (view front and back at the left). This may actually be even rarer than the much sought after Dutch "The Headmaster Ritual" 7" in 'cowboy kid' artwork. The front shows 'The Smiths' in blue instead of the usual colour. On the back, the James Dean image as well as the word 'Again' in the title are blue. The text appears in white over the blue image background. A few extra credits are found in the bottom right corner with the usual Dureco/Indisc credits. These variations would normally be enough to make this item a must-have, but there's more inside. The labels on the record are very minimal. They lack the circular saw motif and all the text bar the 6 lines at the top and the catalogue number at the 8 o'clock position. They are light grey and the text is mid-grey, so not very contrasting.
It has been speculated by certain collectors that this may be a promo, which is very unlikely. If it wasn't meant for commercial release, the most likely explanation is that this is some sort of test pressing. The sleeve does look like an early variation and the matrix numbers are MD 5286 A1/B1 while for the most common pressing described above they are MD 5286 A2/B2. Also the extra words found on the back of the sleeve are "Licensed from Hot records / Manufactured in the Netherlands", which could be an artefact from a sleeve template as Rough Trade were at the time licensed to release material by bands on Hot Records such as the Triffids. The slip would have been corrected for the final sleeve. Any extra information would be appreciated.
Holland 12" [Megadisc MD125286]
The front of the Dutch 12" is identical to the front of the British 12" and, as would be expected, the back has minor changes made to the credits and catalogue number. The inner sleeve is a plain white die-cut one. The labels are the classic Megadisc type with circular saw motif around them and the label name across the centre. It is incorrectly stated on them that the record plays at 33 1/3 RPM.
New Zealand 7" [CBS RTANZ015]
The New Zealand 7" was distributed in the Australian 7" sleeve (see description above). The record bears the classic green and red silhouette labels typical of Australia and New Zealand releases licensed from Rough Trade. They differ from their Australian counterpart by the absence of the line "Made and distributed in Australia under licence" at the bottom, the identification of the sides as '1' and '2' instead of 'A' and 'B', and by a different and less crowded text layout.
New Zealand 7" promo [CBS RTANZ015]
Promo 7"s are stock copies with a "Demonstration Record" sticker on the flipside label.
Portugal 12" [Transmedia TM/RTT192]
This item may be the rarest of all stock 12"s for this title. The sleeve is slightly smaller than usual and the spine is thin, so there is no inner sleeve (although some copies have been spotted with a clear film inner sleeve, perhaps added a posteriori). The front is just like everywhere else, but the tint is closer to pink than purple. The back of the sleeve is the same as in England, but with extra Transmedia credits and an indentation on the left for better access to the record inside. Some, or perhaps all copies have a white round sticker in the upper left corner on the front showing the Transmedia logo with the words "TRANSMEDIA. 2nd ANIVERSARIO" around it. The labels are mauve-pink with the text in the classic Rough Trade layout. The credits on them are grey while the band name at the top is printed in white.
Spain 12" [Nuevos Medios 41-196M]
Unlike most Smiths singles previously released in Spain, Nuevos Medios didn't have the "Bigmouth Strikes Again" 12" pressed in England. The sleeve artwork is still very similar to that of the British 12", albeit in a slightly lighter shade of mauve. The labels are mauve or pale violet, the band name at the top of them is white and the rest of the text is tan/grey. The inner sleeve is made of plain white paper.
Sweden 12" [MNW RTT192]
It is no surprise to find that the Swedish 12" of "Bigmouth Strikes Again" was pressed in England and is almost identical to its English cousin. The only differences, minor ones, are the MNW and nęb logos added to the label, the "SIB-Tryck Ab Norsborg" line added in the lower right corner at the back of the sleeve, and a white paper inner sleeve instead of the violet one.