"Half A Person"


The song was written at Mayfair Studios in London in October 1986 where the Smiths were recording the "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby" single (which would never be). The latter intended a-side had been recorded with producer John Porter (and fifth Smith Craig Gannon), but "Half A Person" and "London" were produced by Johnny and Morrissey with the help of Stephen Street as engineer.

Another version was recorded with producer John Porter on 2 December 1986 for the band's final appearance on John Peel's BBC programme (broadcast 17 December 1986).


single version {3:35}
• 12" of "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby" (a mispress of the UK "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" 12")
"Shoplifters Of The World Unite" single, all formats
• France 7" single of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
"The World Won't Listen" album
• Germany cd-single of "Sheila Take A Bow"
"Louder Than Bombs" album
"Best...I" album
• deluxe edition of "The Sound Of The Smiths" [remastered 2008]


John Peel radio session 17 December 1986 {3:30}
This radio session has yet to be compiled on a Smiths anthology but it is commonly found in good quality on various manufactured bootlegs as well as in digital format on the internet.


This song was never done live by the Smiths. It has been performed live 35 times by Morrissey after the Smiths, all on the 1999-2000 Oye Esteban tour. It was introduced in the sets in December 1999 then played almost every night until the end of the tour, with the exception of a few brief breaks.

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


No demos or studio outtakes of this song have leaked to the general public at this point in time.



"Me and Morrissey would just disappear. Some of my favourite songs came about that way, like 'Half A Person'. We just locked ourselves away and did it. In the time it takes to play it, I wrote it. Morrissey was great in that respect. He knew when I was going to play something good."
- Johnny Marr, Record Collector, November/December 1992

Did you ever write together? [with Morrissey]
"Once, which was 'Half a Person': that was incredibly uncanny. The morning we were supposed to do the B-side he said, 'What are we going to do?' I picked up the guitar and said, 'Maybe it should go like this?' and he hummed the melody whilst I found some chords. It was done in like four minutes. We did it that one time because the tape was rolling in the next room and we hadn't come up with something. It was just a necessity. We'd decided, very unexpectedly for us, impulsively, to do an A-side which was going to be 'You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby'. We wrote and recorded that in 24 hours. That tied us up. I put it down and the band learned it, he took the cassette away and the next morning all the words were written. We were pretty prolific."
- Johnny Marr, The Guardian, September 2013