"Pretty Girls Make Graves"


The song was written in August/September 1983, finished at around the same time as "This Charming Man" and "Still Ill".

It was first professionally recorded on 25 August 1983 for the band's second appearance on David Jensen's BBC programme (first broadcast on 5 September 1983), with producer John Porter.

It was recorded again in September 1983 at London's Elephant Studios with producer Troy Tate at the tail end of the sessions for the band's debut album.

The definitive album version was recorded in mid-October 1983 at Pluto Studios in Manchester, with producer John Porter.


album version {3:41}
"The Smiths" (debut album)
Troy Tate outtake aka early cello version {3:37}
"I Started Something I Couldn't Finish" single, all formats
"Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" Australia and Holland 7" and 12" singles, Japan cd-single
• deluxe edition of "The Sound Of The Smiths" [remastered 2008]


David Jensen radio session 5 September 1983 {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 a digital file on the internet.


This song has been done in concert a confirmed 59 times by the Smiths, but this number could actually be as high as 76 if we take into account the fact that information is missing for many setlists of that era. The song was introduced in the sets at the very end of August 1983 and was played at least 14 times before the end of the year, probably even up to 25 times. It was a setlist fixture on the 1984 tour promoting the release of the debut album and was played a few more times later the same year promoting "Hatful Of Hollow", for a total of 45 known performances in 1984 (more likely 49 or even 51 airings).

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


Troy Tate studio outtake {3:40}
This version commonly found on bootlegs is always the officially released one listed above.


"I nominate Pretty girls make graves as the third single, but a bastion of bearded Rough Trade battleaxes drop on me like a ton of beansprouts and argue against a song with a title that would have make Mary Wollstonecraft throw in the tea-towel."
- Morrissey, "Autobiography"