"Work Is A Four-Letter Word"


This Cilla Black cover was recorded at the Smiths' final session, in May 1987 at Firehouse Studios, Streatham (London), with producer Grant Showbiz. The recording was mixed by Stephen Street before being released.


full single version {2:45}
• 12" and cassette-single of "Girlfriend In A Coma"
"Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" Germany 12" and cd-single, and Japan cd-single
"Handsome Devils", a French giveaway cd-EP
"Sweet And Tender Hooligan" single, all formats
single edit {2:09}
• 7" single of "Girlfriend In A Coma"


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


This song has never been done live, either by the Smiths or Morrissey.


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



"'Work Is A Four Letter Word' I hated. That was the last straw, really. I didn't form a group to perform Cilla Black songs. That's the main thing."
- Johnny Marr, Record Collector, November/December 1992

"I thought it was an amusing song. I think I was the only member of the Smiths who actually did. I thought it was quite funny and very throwaway, and a bit of a tease really. I wasn't attempting to produce a great piece of Gothic Art, it was just a taunting little number. I even got the words wrong, accidentally. (...) It was very instrumental in breaking up the Smiths but what care I? Cilla Black, unbeknown to herself, actually broke the Smiths up... which is pretty much to her credit."
- Morrissey, Brit Girls documentary first broadcast in November 1997

"Everything has its place and its reason. Certainly, the early Smiths covers, for example 'Work is a four-letter word' and 'Golden lights' were done as acts of playful perversity - they weren't meant to be groundbreaking miracles of sound. And that's usually how it is, just a matter of throwing something unexpected into the mix."
- Morrissey, in a Q&A session on True To You in June 2007