Track of the DayThe Smiths - The Queen is Dead

NeilBy | posted on 30th August 2013
AlbumThe Queen is DeadLabelYearTags

Take me back to dear old blighty...

It begins with a World War I music hall number about returning home from the front, interrupted by feedback and drum rolls, and recounts a non-violent assault on the palace ("with a sponge and a rusty spanner") that turns into a cosy chat inspired by a real-life event: in July 1982 Michael Fagan broke into the Buckingham Palace (at the second attempt), and while the story that he sat at the end of the Queen’s bed in conversation with Her Royal Highness is apocryphal, he did help himself to half a bottle of wine and a brief sit-down on the throne.

Morrissey turns this non-conversation into unreal discourse: When The Queen casts aspersions on his vocal prowess ("I know you and you cannot sing"), Morrissey replies self-effacingly: “That’s nothing - you should hear me play piano.”

If The Queen is Dead is angry, it’s sardonically so, and it ends, as does so much with Morrissey, in introspection: "Life is very long when you’re lonely".