Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
"... THE seminal Smiths single" - Dylan Jones, i-D
I'm Miserable Now
Suffer Little Children
Released in May 1984
the seminal Smiths single. Dead sad, dead funny."
must be one of the small number of people who actually believe that
The Smiths are not the saviours of Western Pop as we know it.
Apart from 'This Charming Man', what difference have The Smiths made
except to re-inforce how boring and ordinary groups can be these days?
You have to do more than dish out a staple diet of Oscar Wilde, teenage
angst, existentialism, and Sandie Shaw infatuations to see this boy
crumble. The ambiguity of their lyrics might well be an applauding point
but that's just a drop in the ocean compared to the straight faced dourness
of most of their music. That said, 'Heaven Only Knows' [sic] cunningly
re-dresses the balance. A jewel of a melody, a timeless arrangement,
the sheer languid charm of Morrissey's vocal performance, the deeper
suggestions of his words, the buried ideas, all add up to the proverbial
shiver-down-the-spine. It's a record like this that makes me start to
understand the love vested in them, even if the last time I saw Morrissey
he had approximately half his front lawn hanging out of his back pocket.
And if you're about to complain bitterly about the NME building
them up to knock them down policy, forget it. I never promised
them a rose garden."
'Suffer Little Children': "Another Rough Trade...? Confirmed
Smithshater though I be, credit where credit's due. A delicate and (dare
I say it) tender ballad concerning the activities of everyone's favourite
love-story couple. It's fascinating to hear how sensual Morrissey's
voice can be when he's not torturing us with those horrible whooping
noises he makes. Buy it for the B-side; the A-side sees Morrissey and
his jangling friends complaining that they feel 'miserable tonight'."
another Smiths single, isn't it? They're very good, I like their attitude
and approach, but they always seem so apathetic that I don't really
feel like giving them any sympathy. They turn apathy into a fine art.
I wrote an ineffectual line such as 'I was looking for a job/ And then
I found a job/And Heaven knows I'm miserable now', that outraged people
(which pleased me)."
was all that fuss about 'Suffer Little Children' in the newspapers,
all these comments and opinions from people who knew nothing about the
group and nothing about music. I felt very sad and angry about that,
so much just being headlines. Nobody had approached me and there were
long, inflated comments, "Morrissey says this..." and "Morrissey
wrote it for this reason...". All of it was totally untrue and
I couldn't understand why nobody had asked me. At one point, someone
from The Daily Mail rang up, giving me the chance to give my side of
the story. Of course, they weren't interested that I got on famously
with the parents of the victims. So, they wouldn't print the story.
Well, that really upset me."
you anticipate the reaction to 'Suffer Little Children'?
the Moors Murders is wrong. We must bring it to the fore. If we don't
overstate things, they'll continue to happen. We don't forget the atrocities
of Hitler, do we? In the north, I was painted as a hideous Satanic monster,
and the word was that I had upset Ann West [Lesley Anne's mother]. In
fact, I had not, and have since become great friends with her. She is
a formidable figure."
me life was never easy, but it wasn't even acceptable until the release
of 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now'. I liked that record and good times
seemed to happen to me then. I'll look back on them as pleasant days.
But before then I'd never felt it. I was making records that though
successful weren't really quite clicking with me. It was like I'd still
had this hangover from the years of nothingness, of being on the dole,
having to live in that horrible atmosphere of communicating with the
DHSS, people saying why are you writing this absurd song. 'Heaven Knows
I'm Miserable Now' seemed to me an enormous release... It had got to
the point where I was this totally separate character from the group.
I was never asked about them or the music. I'd feel there was always
this desire to create a caricature of me - a repressed priest, insane
pseudo axeman, or whatever... But with 'Heaven Knows...' everything
fell into perspective. Previous to that I was just running around trying
to keep everybody happy."
think 'Girl Afraid' simply implied that even within relationships, there's
no real certainty and nobody knows how anybody feels. People feel that
just simply because they're having this cemented communion with another
person that the two of you will become whole, which is something I detested.
I hate that, that implication. It's not true, anyway. Ultimately, you're
on your own, whatever happens in life, however you go through life.
You die on your own. You have to go to the dentist on your own. It's
like all the serious things in life are things that you feel on your
we went to America to play Danceteria on New Year's Eve and Mike got
ill so we couldn't do the rest of the gigs, and 'Heaven Knows' was written
in a hotel room while me and Morrissey were waiting to go home. And
I wrote the music for 'Girl Afraid' the day I got back, so really we
were more concerned with what came next. I don't really like 'Heaven
Knows'. Well, I like it but less than the others. I don't like the tune
and the backing track. I don't like the rhythm or anything."
completed it when we came back from America, having been to New York
where we played that one gig at the Danceteria. I did that the moment
I got back. I wrote it in New York with Morrissey, put it on tape when
we got back and within a couple of weeks we moved to London."