morrissey is on a campaign to get 'the queen is dead' back on the charts
The British band’s former frontman is pissed his record labels aren’t reissuing a 30th anniversary edition of its most iconic album.
On June 16, 1986, The Smiths released what's widely considered the best album of its heartbreakingly short lifespan: The Queen Is Dead. Spending 22 weeks on the UK albums chart (peaking at #2) upon its release — spurred on by the surging success of singles Bigmouth Strikes Again, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side, and There Is a Light that Never Goes Out — the record has only appreciated in prestige since: it's the lone Smiths studio album to receive Pitchfork's nearly impossible Perfect 10, and in 2013 it topped NME's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Morrissey certainly hasn't forgotten any of this, but he's pretty pissed his labels seem to have.
"We have always been gagged, of course, but certain recordings rise with time, and The Queen Is Dead and also Meat Is Murder both had the courage to put the fullest meaning of British life into words and music," Mozzer writes, as always, on fan site True to You. He continues to express his disappointment that Warner UK and Sire US have not celebrated the 30th anniversaries of either record with the special edition reissues they indeed deserve. "It would not quite be the Smiths if not classically ignored by the dried-out lawns of the establishment. I urged Warner UK to issue a special The Queen Is Dead single release for the first week of June ... but ... brick wall."
Another thing it's been almost 30 years since: The Smiths' acidic breakup. Time has not healed those wounds; rather, a downright ugly court battle has all but ensured the band will never reunite (despite Coachella offering $3 million and an all vegetarian festival for its two principal members, Moz and Marr, to share the stage for, like, an hour). While we'll probably never live to see The Smiths perform again, if Morrissey has his way, we will see them in the charts.
"Bleeding to death," he gushes, "I therefore have the restless gall to ask of you that, should you have 99 cents/pence, that you purchase The Queen Is Dead track in the final week of May, thus possibly edging it into the corner of everyone's ear in the UK Top 100 — if only to let them know that we are still here and fully aware of the fox-fur on the hall-stand."
You might as well buy the full album while you're at it; after all, lyrics contained in The Queen is Dead inspired both Chloë Sevigny's best Halloween costume and our favorite political art of the year.
Text Emily Manning