"Shoplifters Of The World Unite"
January 1987


Shoplifters Of The World Unite
Half A Person

UK 7" [Rough Trade RT195]
Europe/Germany 7" [Line 108945 (in black vinyl)]
Germany 7" [Line LIS1.00020B (in blue vinyl)]
Holland 7" [Rough Trade RT195]
Sweden 7" [MNW RT195]


Shoplifters Of The World Unite
Half A Person

UK 12" [Rough Trade RTT195]
Europe/Germany 12" [Line 608.945 (black vinyl)]
Germany 12" [Line LIEP3.00009 (green or pink-white marbled vinyl)]
Spain 12" [Nuevos Medios 41-243 M]
Sweden 12" [MNW RTT195]


Additional information:
Early copies of the UK 12" were sold in a plastic carrier bag with the word "Shoplifter" on one side and the front artwork on the other (view left).

About 900 stock copies of "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" on 12" were mispressed with "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby" on the a-side, a song that had for a brief moment been considered as a potential single (info at the latter link). It has been speculated that the mistake was a deliberate marketing ploy. There is significant evidence to that effect, particularly because 1) different stampers were used to produce the test pressings and the mispressed copies; 2) because the white labels promoting "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" were not mispressed; 3) because the mispressing was reported in the NME (by one Alf Ramsey, suspected to be Morrissey's alias) as the single hit the shelves.


Artwork information:
Elvis Presley photographed by James R. Reid (his hairdresser) in 1955. This was his first ever press shot. View uncropped and untilted original here.


Etchings on vinyl:
UK 7" and 12": ALF RAMSEY'S REVENGE / none
Alf Ramsey was a football manager in the sixties.


Additional release date information:
UK: 26 January 1987


Chart peak information:
UK: 12


UK: White label copies of the 12" were used for promotion. The labels in this case were actually very light pink instead of white. A 12"x24" promo poster and/or a postcard were occasionally slipped inside the sleeve. Some stock copies of the 7" were also sent to radio with a plugger sticker on the sleeve and/or a press release.

Germany: Stock copies of the European 7" edition (aka German 7" on black vinyl) were dispatched to media with a blue Ariola 'single facts' press sheet. Copies of the UK 7" were also distributed in Germany with a German press sheet, this one from Rough Trade Deutschland paper and printed on yellow paper.

Italy: The 4-track various artists sampler 12" (CGD INT15290) featuring the title track of this single is actually a promo for the "The World Won't Listen" album.

USA: A one-track promotional 12" of "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" was distributed later in the year to promote the "Louder Than Bombs" album. This item has unique artwork and is discussed on the "Louder Than Bombs" page.



"[It was a] very, very witty single and a great moment for the Smiths in England. I think it was probably the best days of our career. It was just a very funny time and a time of very sparky rebellion, and this song, more than any, I think, exemplifies that. I like it."
- Morrissey interviewed by Richard Blade, KROQ, July 1997



"The Smiths return to the reverb-of-doom guitars of the mighty 'How Soon Is Now' for the murky 'Shoplifters of the World Unite,' while the flip's 'Half A Person' sounds like it's mocking Morrissey's miserabilism and is quite pretty as well."
- Creem

"'Shoplifters...' is the last oasis on The Smiths' journey, a great record (maybe their last?), a big hit, and, almost inevitably, site for further aggravation... One publicity-starved Tory MP decides that the record - an attack on plagiarism - actually encourages real-life supermarket-looting, and calls, in the House of Commons, for its withdrawal."
- Danny Kelly, NME, 8 August 1987

"This record might be the stuff of tragi-comedy, but the funereal tune with cumbersome guitars and world-weary singing kills any irony that may be hidden in the lyrics."
- Michele Kirsch, New Musical Express, 31 January 1987