"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
May 1984


Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
Suffer Little Children

UK 7" [Rough Trade RT156]
UK 7" [Rhino UK RHN156; 2008 reissue]
Germany 7" [Intercord INT110.166]
Holland 7" [Ariola RT156]
Philippines 7" [DVNA Products RTR-86/1]
Sweden 7" [MNW RT156]


Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
Girl Afraid
Suffer Little Children

UK 12" [Rough Trade RTT156]
UK CD5 [Rough Trade RTT156CD]
Australia CD5 [Festival D1073]
France 12" [Virgin 80110]
Germany 12" [RT Deutschland RTD015T]
Holland 12" [Ariola/Megadisc RTT156]
Japan 12" [Tokuma Japan 15RTL-6]
Portugal 12" [Transmedia TM/RT156]
Spain 12" [Nuevos Medios 41-092M]

Additional information:
The 2008 reissue of the 7" single by Rhino UK was also included in the "Smiths Singles box" which compiled the band's first 10 UK singles (plus two bonuses). On each of the five weeks leading to the release of the latter box, two singles from it were put up for sale individually. Collectors could therefore buy two single reissues every week, or wait at the end of the programme to get all of them in the box, alongside the two bonus 7"s.


Artwork information:
Photo of Viv Nicholson taken from her 1977 autobiography "Spend Spend Spend". Another photo from the same book was used as artwork for "Barbarism Begins At Home". In 1988 Morrissey picked another photo of Viv Nicholson to appear on the "Headmaster Ritual" cd-single.


Etchings on vinyl:


Additional release date information:
UK 7" and 12": 25 May 1984
Germany: 27 June 1984
UK cd-single: 28 November 1988
Australia cd-single: late 1988
UK 2008 reissue: 17 November 2008


Chart peak information:
UK: 10


UK: Promotion to media was done via white label copies of the 7" format. These were sometimes paired with a postcard showing the single's artwork. Retail promotion was done with 7" and 12" stock copies sent out with a two-sided press release showing the single's artwork on one side and release and tour date information on the other. Some of the latter 12"s may have been dispatched with promo postcards. Some copies did come with a promo badge/pin, one-inch in diametre and showing cover star Viv Nicholson's head.

Denmark: This single was promoted in Denmark with copies of the UK 7" with orange Danish press release and a postcard showing a close-up of cover star Viv Nicholson's face.

France: Stock copies of the 12" 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 upper right corner of the sleeve.

Germany: Promos of this single were stock copies with a white round 'Promotional Copy' sticker on the front, dispatched to media with a yellow and white INFO sheet dated '06/84'. These may have had an additional green sticker fixed to the record's label.

Japan: Promo 12"s had the usual white SAMPLE sticker on the sleeve and the extra promo characters printed on the record's label.



"There was all that fuss about 'Suffer Little Children' in the newspapers, all these comments and opinions from people who knew nothing about the group and nothing about music. I felt very sad and angry about that, so much just being headlines. Nobody had approached me and there were long, inflated comments, "Morrissey says this..." and "Morrissey wrote it for this reason...". All of it was totally untrue and I couldn't understand why nobody had asked me. At one point, someone from The Daily Mail rang up, giving me the chance to give my side of the story. Of course, they weren't interested that I got on famously with the parents of the victims. So, they wouldn't print the story. Well, that really upset me."
- Morrissey on the "Suffer Little Children" controversy, Jamming!, December 1984

Did you anticipate the reaction to 'Suffer Little Children'?
"Yes, I did. Yes, I did anticipate it - and when it arrived, I wasn't ready for it in the least. I was quite confused. I was very distressed by that but I was only distressed because nobody would actually let me comment on it. It appeared in national newspaper the length and breadth of the country - Morrissey does this and Morrissey says that and Morrissey believes... and nobody asked me a thing. Nobody knew what I believed or why the lyrics were there. So that was the only distressing element. But I'm glad the record got attention, ultimately."
Were you alarmed at the way the sentiments of the song, the basic concept, the basic sympathies of the song were so disfigured?
"Well, this is the world we live in. It's not a reflection of me, it really reflects the absolute and barbaric attitudes of the daily press and so I don't really feel that I was in the dock, I feel that they were really. And in essence they were just really saying how narrow-minded and blunderous they were. Some of the reports in newspapers in Portsmouth and Hartlepool - all the places that really count - some of the reports were so full of hate, it was like I was one of the Moors Murderers, that I'd gone out and murdered these children. Some of them were so full of hate that one just had to do something, but not read them. It was incredible."
- Morrissey, Melody Maker, 16 March 1985

"Veiling the Moors Murders is wrong. We must bring it to the fore. If we don't overstate things, they'll continue to happen. We don't forget the atrocities of Hitler, do we? In the north, I was painted as a hideous Satanic monster, and the word was that I had upset Ann West [Lesley Anne's mother]. In fact, I had not, and have since become great friends with her. She is a formidable figure."
- Morrissey, Spin, 1986

"For me life was never easy, but it wasn't even acceptable until the release of 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now'. I liked that record and good times seemed to happen to me then. I'll look back on them as pleasant days. But before then I'd never felt it. I was making records that though successful weren't really quite clicking with me. It was like I'd still had this hangover from the years of nothingness, of being on the dole, having to live in that horrible atmosphere of communicating with the DHSS, people saying why are you writing this absurd song. 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' seemed to me an enormous release... It had got to the point where I was this totally separate character from the group. I was never asked about them or the music. I'd feel there was always this desire to create a caricature of me - a repressed priest, insane pseudo axeman, or whatever... But with 'Heaven Knows...' everything fell into perspective. Previous to that I was just running around trying to keep everybody happy."
- Morrissey, NME, 22/29 December 1984

"... we went to America to play Danceteria on New Year's Eve and Mike got ill so we couldn't do the rest of the gigs, and 'Heaven Knows' was written in a hotel room while me and Morrissey were waiting to go home. And I wrote the music for 'Girl Afraid' the day I got back, so really we were more concerned with what came next. I don't really like 'Heaven Knows'. Well, I like it but less than the others. I don't like the tune and the backing track. I don't like the rhythm or anything."
- Johnny Marr, Select, December 1993



"Probably the seminal Smiths single. Dead sad, dead funny."
- Dylan Jones, i-D, October 1987

"...I must be one of the small number of people who actually believe that The Smiths are not the saviours of Western Pop as we know it. Apart from 'This Charming Man', what difference have The Smiths made except to re-inforce how boring and ordinary groups can be these days? You have to do more than dish out a staple diet of Oscar Wilde, teenage angst, existentialism, and Sandie Shaw infatuations to see this boy crumble. The ambiguity of their lyrics might well be an applauding point but that's just a drop in the ocean compared to the straight faced dourness of most of their music. That said, 'Heaven Only Knows' [sic] cunningly re-dresses the balance. A jewel of a melody, a timeless arrangement, the sheer languid charm of Morrissey's vocal performance, the deeper suggestions of his words, the buried ideas, all add up to the proverbial shiver-down-the-spine. It's a record like this that makes me start to understand the love vested in them, even if the last time I saw Morrissey he had approximately half his front lawn hanging out of his back pocket. And if you're about to complain bitterly about the NME building them up to knock them down policy, forget it. I never promised them a rose garden."
- unknown critic, New Musical Express

"It's another Smiths single, isn't it? They're very good, I like their attitude and approach, but they always seem so apathetic that I don't really feel like giving them any sympathy. They turn apathy into a fine art.
This is a soft record, the sort of thing I can see Captain really liking. He loves soft, pleasant music. Maybe when I'm feeling really depressed and on the point of slitting my wrists, I'd find The Smiths very appealing, but now I'm happy they don't appeal to me quite so much. Why is he miserable? He doesn't say why in the lyric. He's just depressed. Next time he gets in this frame of mind he ought to give me a ring and I'll cheer him up.
This record is well put together and nicely produced and everything, and I think The Smiths are on their way to making really good records, but this isn't it. They haven't quite got it right yet. One day The Smiths will make a record that I'll love. It will only sell one copy and that will be to me.
Morrissey has actually got a good voice, he's got a very wide range... but I'm always wary of singers who try to croon. He does try, though. This record is just very nice and its miserable at the same time - which is really, I suppose, what makes The Smiths unique.
- Rat Scabies, Melody Maker, 26 May 1984