"Still Ill"


The song was written in early September 1983 at about the same time as "Pretty Girls Make Graves" and "This Charming Man". It was rehearsed at the time upstairs at Joe Moss' Crazy Face Clothing Co.

It was professionally recorded for the first time on 14 September 1983 for the band's second appearance on John Peel's BBC programme (first broadcast on 21 September 1983), with producer Roger Pusey.

The song's backing track was recorded later in September 1983 at Matrix Studios in London with producer John Porter. Its mixing was completed in October at Pluto Studios in Manchester while the band was re-recording with John Porter the material that would end up appearing on their debut album.


album / single version {3:19}
"The Smiths" (debut album)
• Germany-only 12" of "Still Ill"
• Brazil 6" flexi picture disc of "Still Ill" from Bizz magazine
"Best...II" album
"The Very Best Of The Smiths" [remastered 2001]
"The Sound Of The Smiths" [remastered 2008]


John Peel radio session 21 September 1983 {3:36}
"Hatful Of Hollow" album
The Tube 4 November 1983 [tv]
This 3-song performance (including "Hand In Glove" and "Barbarism Begins At Home") 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.
Datarun 7 April 1984 [tv]
Soundcheck footage of "Still Ill" and "Hand In Glove" from a 13 March concert at Manchester's Free Trade Hall, shown alongside a brief interview and acoustic performance of "This Charming Man" by Morrissey and Johnny, is easily found on video bootlegs. The audio for the acoustic "This Charming Man" and the two soundcheck excerpts is commonly circulated in good quality on various manufactured bootlegs as well as in digital format on the internet.
Les Enfants Du Rock 18 May 1984 [tv]
This 3-song live performance (including "Girl Afraid" and "Barbarism Begins At Home") from the 9 May 1984 concert at the Eldorado in Paris is circulated on video bootlegs. The audio from this broadcast is not circulated on manufactured bootlegs, but the audio from the uncirculated video recording of the complete concert is easily found.
4Music Presents 6 April 2006 [tv; Morrissey after the Smiths]
This 4-song performance (also including "You Have Killed Me", "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" and "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy") as well as the Morrissey interview, are circulated on bootleg video compilations of Morrissey television appearances. The audio can be found in digital format on the internet.


This song has been performed live 153 times by the Smiths, perhaps up to 170 times when taking into account the number of unknown setlists from the early Smiths days. This makes it the second most played song in the band's 'live hall of fame'. It was done 13 times, perhaps even up to 23 times between its live inception in September 1983 and the group's first proper tour at the beginning of 1984. It seems to have been played to each and every audience on the 1984 tours promoting the debut album and "Hatful Of Hollow", for a total of 59 confirmed performances, but very likely 65. It was performed almost as assiduously on the 1985 Meat Is Murder tour (including the few 'loose' dates from early 1986), for a total of 47 airings out of 51 concerts. It was taken off the setlist for the first UK leg of the 1986 tour promoting the album "The Queen Is Dead", but returned as a regular for the remainder of the tour, for a total of 34, probably even 35 performances that year.

soundcheck Manchester Free Trade Hall 13 March 1984
see television appearance from 7 April 1984 in 'In The Media' section above.
live Paris Eldorado 9 May 1984
see television appearance from 18 May 1984 in 'In The Media' section above.
live Kilburn 23 October 1986 {4:10}
"Rank" (live album)

The song was played a further 117 times by Morrissey after the Smiths. It was a fixture on the setlist at the start of the Tour Of The Tormentors MMVI until the end of May 2006. With the few scatterred airings later in 2006, this makes it 47 performances on the latter tour. It returned to Morrissey's sets in 2011 when it was played 17 times (out of 47 shows). 40 audiences (out of a possible 56) were treated to it in 2012, then 13 out of 15 in 2013.

live Hollywood High School 2 March 2013 {:} [Morrissey after the Smiths]
"25Live", a live concert on video


No demos or studio outtakes of this song have leaked to the general public at this point in time.



"Are you still ill? asks Linder, as we meet our weekly meet at Kendals rooftop restaurant, and while a song is born, so too is a lifelong friendship fortified and not weakened by time."
- Morrissey, "Autobiography"