Hatful of Hollow

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Hatful of Hollow
Compilation album by The Smiths
Released 12 November 1984
Recorded 1983–1984
Genre Alternative rock, indie pop
Length 56:11
Label Rough Trade (UK), Sire (US)
Producer John Porter, The Smiths, Roger Pusey, Dale "Buffin" Griffin
The Smiths compilations chronology
Hatful of Hollow
The World Won't Listen
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork (10/10)[2]

Hatful of Hollow is a compilation album by the English rock band The Smiths, featuring BBC Radio 1 studio recordings and two contemporary singles with their B-sides. It was released on 12 November 1984 by the band's British record company, Rough Trade, just months after the band's debut, The Smiths. The album reached No. 7 on the UK Albums Chart and stayed on the chart for 46 weeks.[3] Eventually, on 9 November 1993, it was also released by their American label, Sire Records, which had initially declined to release the album. Sire instead released Louder Than Bombs in the US in 1987, which contains several of the same tracks as on Hatful of Hollow, as well as The World Won't Listen.

In 2000, Q magazine placed Hatful of Hollow at number 44 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.


The current sleeve for Hatful of Hollow is the CD issue sleeve, featuring a photograph of the otherwise unknown Fabrice Colette taken by Gilles Decroix. Originally, the picture was larger and showed a tattoo of a Cocteau drawing on his left shoulder, which he had had done in June 1983 because he idolised Cocteau. The photograph is taken from a July 1983 special edition of the French newspaper Libération.[4] Additionally, the old cover had a large sky blue frame with the legends "The Smiths" and "Hatful of Hollow" above and underneath the picture. All editions after 1987 however feature the cropped version with the text superimposed.


The album consists mainly of songs recorded over several BBC Radio 1 sessions in 1983 (tracks shown in bold were included on the album). When first broadcast, these radio sessions mainly featured songs which were otherwise unavailable—all were subsequently re-recorded for singles or the following year's debut album, with the exception of "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" which was only ever recorded for the September Peel session.

  1. For John Peel on 31 May 1983: "Handsome Devil", "Reel Around the Fountain", "Miserable Lie", "What Difference Does It Make?" (all four songs were later released as the Peel Sessions EP).
  2. For David Jensen on 4 July 1983: "These Things Take Time", "You've Got Everything Now", "Wonderful Woman"
  3. For Jensen on 5 September 1983: "Accept Yourself", "I Don't Owe You Anything", "Pretty Girls Make Graves", "Reel Around the Fountain"
  4. For Peel on 21 September 1983: "This Charming Man", "Back to the Old House", "This Night Has Opened My Eyes", "Still Ill"

The album also features the band's debut single, "Hand in Glove", and their two most recent singles prior to the album's release, "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", and "William, It Was Really Nothing", with their B-sides "Girl Afraid", "How Soon Is Now?", and "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want".

"How Soon Is Now?" would receive a separate single release in 1985 in the United Kingdom and the United States. It reached No. 24 in the British charts, but failed to chart in the US. Morrissey and Marr lamented the lack of chart success of what they considered their strongest song thus far; it looks like market saturation (the song had already appeared on the "William, It Was Really Nothing" single and Hatful of Hollow) played a part.

Song differences[edit]

The radio session versions of songs are different from other studio recordings. Some of the major differences are:

  • "What Difference Does It Make?" has heavier and more natural sounding guitars than the version on The Smiths. It is also in a different (higher) key than the version on The Smiths.
  • "These Things Take Time" features more prominent bass and less controlled drums than the version from the "What Difference Does It Make?" 12" single. Sliding guitar pieces accompany the chorus.
  • "This Charming Man" has softer and more upbeat vocals, guitars and even drums than the version released as a single and on some versions of The Smiths. The bass line is louder and altered slightly. Additionally, there is no solo guitar introduction.
  • "Hand in Glove" is the version that appeared on the original single, not the one on The Smiths. It features a fade-intro, louder bass, and vocals that sound very distant.
  • "Still Ill" opens and closes with a harmonica solo and sounds less hollow and slightly slower than the version on The Smiths.
  • "You've Got Everything Now" is slower than the version on The Smiths and does not have any keyboard part. The bass line is also altered slightly.
  • "Back to the Old House" (originally the B-side to "What Difference Does It Make?") is an acoustic piece with melancholy guitars and vocals.
  • "Reel Around the Fountain" has duller sounding drums and acoustic guitars than the version on The Smiths. The bass is more prominent, but the piano and organ pieces are not included. It is also in a different (higher) key than the version on The Smiths.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Morrissey/Marr. Tracks marked with an asterisk (*) were first released on this compilation. 

No. Title Length
1. "William, It Was Really Nothing" (single A-side) 2:09
2. "What Difference Does It Make?" (John Peel session, 5/18/83) 3:11
3. "These Things Take Time" (David Jensen session, 6/26/83, *) 2:32
4. "This Charming Man" (John Peel session, 9/14/83, *) 2:42
5. "How Soon Is Now?" (B-side of "William, It Was Really Nothing") 6:44
6. "Handsome Devil" (John Peel session, 5/18/83) 2:47
7. "Hand in Glove (single version)" (single A-side) 3:13
8. "Still Ill" (John Peel session, 9/14/83, *) 3:32
9. "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" (single A-side) 3:33
10. "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" (John Peel session, 9/14/83) 3:39
11. "You've Got Everything Now" (David Jensen session, 6/26/83, *) 4:18
12. "Accept Yourself" (David Jensen session, 8/25/83, *) 4:01
13. "Girl Afraid" (B-side of "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now") 2:48
14. "Back to the Old House" (John Peel session, 9/14/83, *) 3:02
15. "Reel Around the Fountain" (John Peel session, 5/18/83) 5:51
16. "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" (B-side of "William, It Was Really Nothing") 1:50

Etchings on vinyl[edit]


"The impotence of Ernest" was an etching on the single William it was really nothing. As well as being a reference to The importance of being earnest, it is an allusion to the impotence that Ernest Hemingway suffered in his final years. "Ian" refers to a brother of Johnny Marr.


The Smiths[edit]

Technical staff[edit]



Year Chart Position
1984 UK Albums Chart 7


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Douglas Wolk, The Smiths Complete Pitchfork. 18 November 2011
  3. ^ David Roberts British Hit Singles and Albums, Guinness World Records Limited
  4. ^ Hatful Of Hollow sleeve source (Liberation, July 1983)