"Frankly Mr. Shankly"


The music was written by Johnny late in the summer of 1985, at the same time as the music of "I Know It's Over" and "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out". Morrissey had given the song lyrics by the time they entered RAK Studios in London in September 1985 to start recording what would become the album "The Queen Is Dead".

It was only demoed at RAK. It was properly recorded at the subsequent "The Queen Is Dead" sessions which took place in October-November 1985 at Jacobs Studios in Farnham (Surrey). Morrissey and Johnny produced the recording, with Stephen Street as recording engineer. This version of the song featured trumpet and slightly different lyrics to the definitive ones.

For some reason, the song was re-recorded in December 1985 at Wessex Studios in Highbury, London, still with Morrissey and Johnny as producers, but engineered by John Porter instead of Stephen Street. The official reason is that the Jacobs Studios recording had apparently been partially erased, but since it has since leaked on bootlegs in its integrality, there must be another reason. In the process of re-recording the song, the trumpet was dropped, some lyrics were sung differently and a few other minor changes were made. This version is the one that ended up on the album "The Queen Is Dead".


album / single version {2:17}
"The Queen Is Dead" album
• Germany-only 12" single of "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others"


This song has never been performed specifically for radio or television.


This song has been performed live 43 times by the Smiths, perhaps even up to 45 times if we take into account the fact that some setlists from the American leg of the Queen Is Dead tour have been lost. It was done every night on the September 1985 Scottish leg of the Meat Is Murder tour and once on the handful of loose dates from early 1986 (total 8 times). After the release of the Queen Is Dead album in the middle of 1986, it was done another 35 times (perhaps even 37 times) before the end of the year, which means almost every night of the Queen Is Dead tour.

There are no officially released live recordings of the song at this point in time.


studio outtake featuring horns aka trumpet version aka demo {2:22}
Taken from a record company cd-r of a scrapped reissue project, this was leaked on the internet in 2009 then included at the end of 2010 on the rarities LP bootleg simply titled "The Smiths".
studio outtake {2:26}
Taken from a record company cd-r of a scrapped reissue project, this studio outtake which sounds a lot like the officially released version has not yet leaked on bootlegs.


"Yes... fame, fame, fatal fame can play hideous tricks on the brain. It really is so odd, and I think I've said this before - God I suddenly sounded like Roy Hattersly - when one reaches so painfully for something and suddenly it's flooding over one's body, there is pain in the pleasure. Don't get me wrong, I still want it, and I still need it but... Even though you can receive 500 letters from people who will say that the record made me feel completely alive - suddenly doing something remarkably simple like making a candle can seem more intriguing in a perverted sense than writing another song. But what is anything without pain?"
- Morrissey on "Frankly Mr Shankly", New Musical Express, 7 June 1986