Friday, April 20, 2012

The Smiths

For those that missed the first posts, I'm doing an homage a day to the 2003 Rolling Stone Magazine list of the top 500 albums ever, one LP a day until I've been through them all. Let me know how they still stand up, and whether you'd include the albums on a list like that! For the original list, go here.

The Smiths

The Smiths is the debut album by English alternative rock band The Smiths, released on 20 February 1984. The album reached number two on the UK Albums Chart, staying on the chart for 33 weeks. The album was well received by the critics as well as the public, and it established The Smiths as a prominent band in the 1980s music scene in the United Kingdom.

After signing with independent record label Rough Trade, the Smiths began preparations to record their first album in mid 1983. Due to the suggestion of Rough Trade head Geoff Travis, the band selected Troy Tate (former guitarist of The Teardrop Explodes) as producer for sessions at Elephant studios in Wapping. During the following month the group recorded 14 songs.

While recording a BBC session for Dave Jensen in August 1983, the Smiths met producer John Porter. Travis, harboring reservations about the group's session with Troy Tate, gave Porter a cassette of the sessions beforehand in the hopes that he could remix them. Porter told Travis that the sessions were "out of tune and out of time." Feeling the Tate sessions were unsalvageable, Porter offered to rerecord the album himself. Despite praising the work with Tate only a week prior to the press by stating "we've done everything exactly right and it'll show", Smiths singer Morrissey accepted (as did Travis), while guitarist Johnny Marr hesitantly agreed.

The Smiths began work with Porter in September 1983. Due to tour commitments, the band had to make the record in a piecemeal fashion. Recording started at London's Matrix Studios, with the majority of the work undertaken during a week's stay at Pluto, just outside Manchester. A final overdub sessions was performed at Eden Studios in London that November. After listening to a finished mix of the album the following month, Morrissey told Porter and Travis that the album "wasn't good enough". However, the singer said that due to the album's cost of 6,000 pounds, "[they said] it has to be released, there's no going back"

All songs written by Morrissey and Johnny Marr.
1. "Reel Around the Fountain" 5:58
2. "You've Got Everything Now" 3:59
3. "Miserable Lie" 4:29
4. "Pretty Girls Make Graves" 3:24
5. "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" 4:38
6. "Still Ill" 3:23
7. "Hand in Glove" 3:25
8. "What Difference Does It Make?" 3:51
9. "I Don't Owe You Anything" 4:05
10. "Suffer Little Children" 5:28

* Morrissey – vocals
* Johnny Marr – guitars, harmonica
* Andy Rourke – bass guitar
* Mike Joyce – drums
* Annalisa Jablonska – vocals ("Pretty Girls Make Graves", "Suffer Little Children")
* Paul Carrack – keyboards
* John Porter – producer, remixer ("Hand in Glove")
* The Smiths – producers ("Hand in Glove")
* Phil Bush, Neill King – engineers

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