"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"


The music was written by Johnny late in the summer of 1985, after having composed "Frankly, Mr Shankly" and "I Know It's Over" in the company of Morrissey. Morrissey wrote the lyrics shortly after that.

The song was recorded in September 1985 at RAK Studios in London. Initial versions featured the song's title, or more accurately, the line "there's a light in your eyes and it never goes out". This was removed at the mixing stage in October or November 1985 at Jacobs Studios in Farnham (Surrey). Morrissey and Johnny produced the recording, with Stephen Street as recording engineer.


album / single version {4:02}
"The Queen Is Dead" album
• Germany 12" of "Panic"
• France 7" of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
"The World Won't Listen" album
• reissue of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", all formats
"Best...II" album
"The Complete Picture" (video)
"Singles" album
"The Very Best Of The Smiths" [remastered 2001]
"The Sound Of The Smiths" [remastered 2008]


Euro-Tube 5 July 1986 [tv]
This 2-song performance (including "Panic") 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.
San Remo Festival 7 February 1987 [tv]
This 5-song performance (including "Shoplifter Of The World Unite", "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side", "Panic" and three takes of "Ask") is circulated on video bootlegs. The audio from this broadcast is not circulated on bootlegs because the performance was lipsynched.
Later With Jools Holland 21 May 2004 [tv; Morrissey after the Smiths]
This is widely circulated on bootlegs of Morrissey television appearances, alongside the three other songs Morrissey did that night, "Irish Blood, English Heart", "First Of The Gang To Die" and "Let Me Kiss You" as well as the Morrissey interview. The audio for "Let Me Kiss You" and "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" can be found on manufactured bootlegs, but not the audio for the two other songs which is only circulated in digital format on the internet.


This song has been done in concert 41 times by the Smiths, perhaps even up to 43 times if we take into account the fact that information is missing for a few setlists of that era. It was soundchecked on the 1985 Scottish tour but never made the set. It got its live debut in early 1986 when the band was playing a handful of 'loose' dates in between tours. It was done 3 times then. It was on the setlist each and every night on the subsequent Queen Is Dead tour, but was not played one night because the concert was ended prematurely.

The song was also done 165 times by Morrissey after the Smiths. He introduced it on the 2002 tour without a name where it was the standard encore. It was played each and every night except for two Australian festival appearances where Morrissey could not return for an encore. Each and every audience on the 2004 You Are The Quarry tour was treated to the Smiths classic except for Las Vegas near the end of the tour, but to make up for it Morrissey sang it twice at the very last date of the tour. Again the song was the preferred encore between early May and mid-June and between late August and late November. It was given a break on the Tour Of The Tormentors MMVI, and returned for 4 very scattered airings on the 2007-2008 Greatest Hits tour. It was played 36 times out of 47 dates on the 2011 tour, then 14 times out of 56 concert in 2012.

live England December 2004 {4:01 US / 4:45 Euro} [Morrissey after the Smiths]
"Redondo Beach"/"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" single, all formats
"Live At Earls Court" live album {4:50}
live Manchester 22 May 2004 [Morrissey after the Smiths]
"Redondo Beach"/"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" dvd-single {3:41}
"Who Put The 'M' In Manchester?" live DVD {7:01}
live Move Festival 11 July 2004 {4:11} [Morrissey after the Smiths]
"Who Put The 'M' In Manchester?" live DVD, in bonus features


take 1 aka demo {4:25}
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".


"I didn't realise that 'There Is A Light' was going to be an anthem but when we first played it I thought it was the best song I'd ever heard. There's a little in-joke in there just to illustrate how intellectual I was getting. At the time everyone was into the Velvet Underground and they stole the intro to 'There She Goes' - da da da-da, da da-da-da, Dah Dah! - from the Rolling Stones version of 'Hitchhike,' the Marvin Gaye song. I just wanted to put that in to see whether the press would say, Oh it's the Velvet Underground! Cos I knew that I was smarter than that. I was listening to what The Velvet Underground was listening to."
- Johnny Marr, Select, December 1993