"Is It Really So Strange?"


The music was written by Johnny in early 1986. Morrissey may have written the lyrics soon after, or perhaps when the song was recorded.

An early version of the song was recorded during the sessions for the "Ask" single, in June 1986 at Jam Studios in London with producer John Porter and fifth Smith Craig Gannon, alongside "Ask" and "Golden Lights". The band was not happy with it and this version was shelved.

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). This is the version which has been released and with which we are now familiar.


The only officially released studio version of this song, which first put out on single then compiled on various anthologies, is the John Peel session listed below.


John Peel radio session 17 December 1986 {3:04}
"Sheila Take A Bow" single, all formats
"Louder Than Bombs" album
• Australia "The World Won't Listen" double LP and double cassette
• Japan cd-single of "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"


The song has been performed live 35 times by the Smiths, probably even 37 times if we take into account the fact that some setlists from the era have been lost. It was done every night of the 1986 Queen Is Dead tour bar a few breaks and a few concerts that ended earlier than planned.

live Kilburn 23 October 1986 {3:44}
"Rank" (live album)

It has been performed live a further 99 times by Morrissey after the Smiths. It was on the setlist every night without fail on the 1999-2000 Oye Esteban tour. It returned on the 2009 Swords tour where it was done at every stop bar two.


intended single version aka demo {3:09}
Taken from a record company cd-r of a scrapped reissue project, this was leaked at the end of 2010 on the rarities LP bootleg simply titled "The Smiths".