"Shoplifters Of The World Unite"|
The song was written a few weeks before it was recorded, which was in November 1986 at Trident Studios in London. Johnny produced the recording by himself.
A radio version was recorded by Morrissey long after the end of the Smiths, on 19 May 2004 for Zane Lowe's programme on BBC1. Two post-Smiths Morrissey titles were recorded on the same radio session. The musicians on this recording were Boz Boorer (guitar), Alain Whyte (guitar), Gary Day (bass), Dean Butterworth (drums) and Michael Farrell (keyboards).
This song has only been done in concert once by the Smiths, at their final engagement on 12 December 1986.
It was the very first song from the Smiths catalogue to be done by Morrissey after the Smiths and after the one-off concert in Wolverhampton in 1988. Since its live inception at the beginning of 1995, it has been played a total of 192 times, which places it in the top 15 of his 'live hall of fame'. The song was the standard encore on the 1995 Boxers tour. It was played an additional 4 more times in that position later in the year in Japan on the tour promoting the release of "Southpaw Grammar". It remained a live staple on the subsequent Maladjusted tour in 1997 when it was absent from the setlist only 3 times. It was given a break in 1999 and returned as a near-regular on the 2000 half of the Oye Esteban when it was done 20 times. It was given another break in 2002 and returned for 26 more airings on the 2004 You Are The Quarry tour, mostly in the Spring and after mid-October. The next time the song made a Morrissey setlist was in late September and October 2007 on the Greatest Hits tour when Morrissey sang it a scattered dozen of times. The song was not heard on either tours in 2009, but was played 16 times in 2011 (out of 47 dates), 34 times in 2012 (out of 56 dates) and 11 times in 2013 (out of 15 concerts).
"It's more or less spiritual shoplifting, cultural shoplifting, taking things and using them to your own advantage."
"I like the [guitar break] in 'Shoplifters' -- that was the first time I used harmonizing layering. People have said it sounds like Brian May, but I was thinking of stacked Roy Buchanans."
"I've played 'Shoplifters of the World Unite' on this tour too. It's one of my all time favorite songs, a great song that means so much to me."
"You can hear Nils Lofgren's influence on me in the solo on Shoplifters Of The World Unite. That's all done with false harmonics, which is a steel player's technique: you touch the strings with a right-hand finger an octave higher than where you're fretting, and then pluck the string with your thumb."