Ringleader of the Tormentors

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Ringleader of the Tormentors
Studio album by Morrissey
Released 3 April 2006
Recorded September–November 2005 at Forum Music Village, Rome, Italy
Genre Pop rock, alternative rock
Length 50:05
Label Sanctuary/Attack
Producer Tony Visconti
Morrissey chronology
You Are the Quarry
Ringleader of the Tormentors
Years of Refusal
Singles from Ringleader of the Tormentors
  1. "You Have Killed Me"
    Released: 27 March 2006
  2. "The Youngest Was the Most Loved"
    Released: 5 June 2006
  3. "In the Future When All's Well"
    Released: 21 August 2006
  4. "I Just Want to See the Boy Happy"
    Released: 3 December 2006
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Blender 4/5 stars[2]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[3]
The Independent 3/5 stars[4]
NME (8/10)[5]
The Observer 5/5 stars[6]
Pitchfork Media (8/10)[7]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[8]
Times Online 8/10 stars[9]

Ringleader of the Tormentors is Morrissey's eighth solo album, which debuted at number one in the UK album charts and number 27 in the US. It also hit no. 1 in Sweden, Malta and Greece. Billboard described the album as showcasing "a thicker, more rock-driven sound";[10] Morrissey attributes this change in sound to new guitarist Jesse Tobias. The album was released on 3 April 2006 in most of the world and on 4 April 2006 in North America on the Attack Records label.


Recording for the album commenced in late August 2005 in Rome. Mixing began in late October 2005. Originally Morrissey was to record the album with producer Jeff Saltzman, however he could not undertake the project. Early in recording Morrissey's publicist described it as "the most full-on rock record Morrissey's ever done. It's a balls-to-the-wall rock record, not a slow one like the last one." Yet in typical Morrissey style this seems to have been a myth.

Producer Tony Visconti, of T. Rex and David Bowie fame, took over the production role and Morrissey announced that Ringleader of the Tormentors is to be "the most beautiful—perhaps the most gentle, so far." Visconti wrote on his website on 1 November 2005:

The musicians recording with Morrissey in Rome were: Alain Whyte, Boz Boorer, Jesse Tobias, Gary Day, Michael Farrell, and Matt Chamberlain. Chamberlain replaced Dean Butterworth, who decided to continue drumming for the band Good Charlotte. Marco Origel, from the San Francisco area, engineered the album.

Release and reception[edit]

The album's opening track, "I Will See You in Far-off Places", was leaked on the Internet on 2 February 2006. The music combines mystic chanting, horns, buzzsaw guitars, a pounding bass line and relentless drumming with vocal gymnastics reminiscent of several tracks from You Are the Quarry such as "Come Back to Camden" and "You Know I Couldn't Last".

The album's first single, "You Have Killed Me", was first broadcast on the radio station BBC 6 Music on 4 February 2006. The song's lyrics reference Rome and Romans several times, with lines such as "Piazza Cavour, what's my life for," and mention of Italian film directors Pier Paolo Pasolini, who was born in Bologna but lived in and wrote about Rome, and Luchino Visconti, and actress Anna Magnani who starred in movies of both directors. "You Have Killed Me" was released on 27 March 2006 and reached number three in the UK Singles Chart.

The entire Ringleader of the Tormentors album was leaked on the Morrissey fansite, Morrissey-solo, on 5 March 2006.

"In the Future When All's Well" has received some airplay in the United States on alternative rock radio. The album has also been in continuous rotation on Left of Center, Sirius Satellite Radio's college and indie rock channel.

Ringleader of the Tormentors became Morrissey's third number one album on the UK Albums Chart, selling 62,000 copies in its first week of release in the UK.[12] It was also the first British album chart to include download sales, 1,200 of which were full album downloads of Ringleader of the Tormentors.[12] The album peaked in its debut week at number 27 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., and according to Neilsen Soundscan, has sold 98,000 in the U.S. as of August 2008.[13]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I Will See You in Far-Off Places"   Morrissey/Alain Whyte 4:13
2. "Dear God Please Help Me"   Morrissey/Whyte 5:51
3. "You Have Killed Me"   Morrissey/Jesse Tobias 3:08
4. "The Youngest Was the Most Loved"   Morrissey/Tobias 2:59
5. "In the Future When All's Well"   Morrissey/Tobias 3:54
6. "The Father Who Must Be Killed"   Morrissey/Whyte 3:53
7. "Life Is a Pigsty"   Morrissey/Whyte 7:22
8. "I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now"   Morrissey/Whyte 4:14
9. "On the Streets I Ran"   Morrissey/Tobias 3:51
10. "To Me You Are a Work of Art"   Morrissey/Whyte 4:02
11. "I Just Want to See the Boy Happy"   Morrissey/Tobias 2:59
12. "At Last I Am Born"   Morrissey/Michael Farrell 3:33


The Band[edit]

String arrangement[edit]

Children's choir on "The Youngest Was the Most Loved", "The Father Who Must Be Killed" and "At Last I Am Born"

  • Laura Adriani
  • Gaia e Andrea Baroni
  • Niccolo Centioni
  • Julia D'Andrea
  • Alice e Ester Diodovich
  • Marco Lorecchio
  • Charlotte Patrignani


Preceded by
This New Day by Embrace
UK number one album
9 April 2006 – 15 April 2006
Succeeded by
The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
by The Streets