Every announcement of archival material by The Smiths is met (whether or not it deserves it) with those famous lyrics from “Paint a Vulgar Picture” as a reaction: “Re-issue, re-package, re-package / Re-evaluate the songs / Double-pack with a photograph / Extra track and a tacky badge…”
Well, get those lyric cards ready, because Morrissey has recently announced a 45 RPM single from Warner Music U.K. featuring previously unissued versions of “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side” and “Rubber Ring.” Both songs were released on a single in 1985, with “Thorn” later appearing on the band’s landmark album The Queen is Dead. (The A-side to this single is supplemented with “Demo Mix” on the sleeve.)
Morrissey, as always, designed the sleeve (with layout from Warner’s Darren Evans), which features an image of actor Albert Finney.
The news, which has no release date yet, closes a year of wild activity for The Smiths’ mercurial former frontman. This past May, he congratulated his former bandmates, producer Stephen Street and ex-label Rough Trade for “30 fantastic years of sales for The Queen is Dead,” the band’s acclaimed 1986 album, while condemning Warner U.K.’s “brick wall” reaction when asking to reissue the title track as a single.
In recent weeks, Moz has rescheduled American concert dates after keyboardist Gustavo Manzur collapsed backstage before a show in Boulder, Colorado. (The singer himself is no stranger to health issues, having been treated for esophageal cancer in 2014.
Elsewhere, in his new memoir Set the Boy Free, Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr discussed a 2008 meeting with his estranged songwriting partner where a reunion of The Smiths was “a very real prospect” for several days.
Watch this space for more information on the upcoming Smiths single!