"Sheila Take A Bow"


The song came together around November/December 1986, but musical elements can be traced back to an instrumental the band rehearsed at soundcheck the previous February.

The recording was originally meant to take place on 13 December 1986 at Solid Bond Studios in London, but Morrissey did not show up. Everyone regrouped at Matrix Studios in London in early January, including Sandie Shaw who recorded backup vocals for the song, and producer John Porter. This first version featured emulated sitar. Sandie Shaw's vocals did not suit the song, so her part was deleted from it. The band were still not happy with this 'sitar' take and it was shelved.

The definitive version was recorded at the end of the month at Good Earth Studios in London, this time with Stephen Street producing, helped by Johnny and Morrissey.


single version {2:40}
"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"
"Best...I" album
"The Complete Picture" (video)
"Singles" album
"The Very Best Of The Smiths" [remastered 2001]
"The Sound Of The Smiths" [remastered 2008]


The Tube 10 April 1987 [tv] {2:35}
This 2-song performance (including "Shoplifters Of The World Unite") is circulated on video bootlegs. The audio is commonly found in good quality on various manufactured bootlegs as well as in digital format on the internet.
Top Of The Pops 23 April 1987 [tv]
"The Complete Picture" video compilation
The above compilation has the studio version of the song dubbed over the original footage. The original video with original audio may be available on video bootlegs (to be confirmed), but then since the band lipsynched, this audio would still be the studio version of the song with the cheering audience noise over it.


This song was never done in concert during the Smiths days. Morrissey did it only once after the Smiths, on 14 March 2012 in Lima, Peru. There are no officially released live recordings of this one-off performance at this point in time.


John Porter version aka demo {2:40}
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".