And to think, I wasn't entirely convinced when I first played it:-
mp3 : The Smiths - William, It Was Really Nothing
The band's fifth single. At the time, I thought it was a bit disappointing. It wasn't anywhere near the class of Hand In Glove or This Charming Man. It lacked the hook and catchiness of What Difference Does It Make and it wasn't as derivative as Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now.
Now......it is one of my all-time favourite records by The Smiths.
One of the reasons I struggled with it initially was that it seemed to be over just far too quickly at a shade over two minutes. Another reasons was that the two songs on the b-side of the 12" - How Soon Is Now and Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want - seemed vastly superior.
But then one evening, I saw the band on Top Of The Pops perform the single, and I then realised that it was a work of genius.
Johnny Marr with his guitar gifted to him by Elvis Costello;
Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke doing their bit to keep things ticking along;
But above all else, Morrissey at his most alluring, charismatic and mischievous as he tore open his shirt to reveal his skinny torso and in doing so, demonstrated that it was possible to be sexy and indie at the same time.
While it was that performance that got me listening again to William, I quickly realised that in fact its true majesty was in Johnny's guitar playing. This was totally different from anything he had written before now, and to think he was only not long out of his teens at the time....
And it is a lyric that has probably been discussed and analysed as much as anything else Morrissey has ever penned. He himself has said it was to address marriage from a male standpoint as opposed to pop's traditionally female perspective, saying that it was 'about time a male voice spoke directly t0 another male saying marriage was a waste of time'. Others have said suggested this was a smokescreen for a lyric written directly to Billy Mackenzie with whom Morrissey was friends.......
None of these scurrilous rumours were helped by Billy eventually writing his own response in 1993, but I'm of the view it was just his wicked sense of humour very much to the fore. You'll also note that Billy has gone for a different spelling of Morrissey's christian name:-
mp3 : Associates - Stephen, You're Really Something
Tune in next Saturday for yet another more Morrissey/Marr masterpiece.