"The Queen Is Dead"


The song appears to have been put together at Jacobs Studios in Farnham (Surrey) in October-November 1985, where it was recorded alongside most of the material that would become the album "The Queen Is Dead". Morrissey and Johnny produced the recording, with Stephen Street as recording engineer. The original recording extended to 7 minutes and a half and had to be edited down.


album version with "Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty" intro {6:23}
"The Queen Is Dead" album
• Germany 12" of "Panic"
"The Complete Picture" (video)
• deluxe edition of "The Sound Of The Smiths" [remastered 2008]
edit without intro {6:06}
• UK cd-single #1 and Europe cd-single re-release of "How Soon Is Now?"


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


This song was apparently done at each and every one of the concerts the Smiths gave on the 1986 Queen Is Dead tour, for a total of 40 airings, probably even 41 considering the fact that information is missing for one setlist of that tour. The song was the near-standard main set closer for the tour's first half, then the standard set opener on the latter half.

live Kilburn 23 Oct 1986 {4:13}
"Rank" (live album)

Morrissey did it first without the Smiths in Claremont on the 1997 Maladjusted tour, but he must not have been happy with it, as it was not done again for the remainder of that tour. For 10 years it looked like the latter performance would be a one-off event, until the 2007 Greatest Hits tour when it returned for an additional 39 airings, most of the time as set opener. It was in every set of that tour's first leg, then became a part-timer on the second leg. It returned to the set on the 2014 tour when it was played once in the USA then 29 more times out of 32 in Europe.


full version aka demo {7:29}
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".
instrumental demo {3:36}
Taken from a record company cd-r of a scrapped reissue project, this has not yet leaked on bootlegs.


"I didn't want to attack the monarchy in a sort of beer monster way but I find as time goes by this happiness we had slowly slips away and is replaced by something that is wholly grey and wholly saddening. The very idea of the monarchy and the Queen of England is being reinforced and made to seem more useful than it really is."
- Morrissey on "The Queen Is Dead" New Musical Express, 7 June 1986

"For the frenzied wah-wah section on 'The Queen Is Dead,' I was thinking '60s Detroit, like the MC5 and the Stooges."
- Johnny Marr, Guitar Player, January 1990

The title track of "The Queen Is Dead" was obviously influenced by the Stooges and the MC5.
"Yes, I just traced it back. It was Morrissey's idea to include 'Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty' and he said, 'I want this on the track'. But he wasn't to know that I was going to lead into the feedback and drum rolls. It was just a piece of magic. I got the drum riff going and Andy got the bass line, which was one of his best ever and one that bass players still haven't matched. I went in there with all the lads watching and did the take and they just went, 'Wow'. I came out and I was shaking. When I suggested doing it again, they just said, 'No way! No way!' What happened with the feedback was I was setting my guitar up for the track and I put it onto a stand and it was really loud. Where it hit the stand, it made that note of feedback. I did the guitar track, put the guitar on the stand, and while we were talking, it was like, 'Wow, that sounded good'. So I said, 'Right - record that!' It was going through a wah-wah from the previous take, so I just started moving the wah-wah and it was getting all these different intervals, and it definitely added a real tension. I loved Morrissey's singing on that, and the words. But it was very MC5. Morrissey has a real love for that music as well. I remember him playing the Ramones as much as he played Sandie Shaw."
- Johnny Marr, Record Collector, November/December 1992

"It was always about ten, 15 minutes long. It just happened in the studio, didn't it? It was like a Beatles mad 'I Am The Walrus' metal jam... That track was done right at the end of the sessions, wasn't it? Mozz didn't even have a title for the album at that stage..."
- Andy Rourke on "The Queen Is Dead", Select, April 1993

"The song 'The Queen Is Dead' I really like. I used to like the MC5 and The Stooges and it's as good if not better than anything The Stooges ever did. It's got energy and aggression in that kind of garagey way."
- Johnny Marr, Select, December 1993

"I'd done the rhythm track for The Queen Is Dead, and left the guitar on the stand. The wah pedal just happened to be half open, and putting the guitar down made the guitar suddenly hit off this harmonic. We were back at the desk playing back the rhythm track and I could still hear this harmonic wailing away, so we put the tape back onto record while I crept back into the booth and started opening up the wah-wah, thinking 'Don't die, don't die!' Eventually I opened up the pedal, and 'Wooooohhhhhh!' Kept it going, too. Great accident..."
- Johnny Marr, The Guitar Magazine, January 1997