The Last of the Famous International Playboys

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"The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
Single by Morrissey
from the album Bona Drag (compilation)
Released 30 January 1989 (UK)
Format 7", 12", CD, cassette
Length 3:37
Label HMV (UK)
Morrissey singles chronology
"Everyday Is Like Sunday"
(1988)
"The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
(1989)
"Interesting Drug"
(1989)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

"The Last of the Famous International Playboys" was the third single released by Morrissey. It reached number 6 in the UK Singles Chart. The song was not featured on one of Morrissey's main studio albums, but can be found on the compilation album Bona Drag along with the B-side "Lucky Lisp". The artwork for the single features Morrissey, aged 7, up a tree in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester—literally a boy at play. "The Last of the Famous International Playboys" is notable for featuring three of Morrissey's former colleagues in The SmithsAndy Rourke, Mike Joyce and one time former Smiths rhythm guitarist Craig Gannon—all of whom also appear on the B-side, "Lucky Lisp".

The song mythologizes the notorious pair of vicious London gangsters known as the Kray twins (Ronnie and Reggie Kray), who held a tight rein on the East End of London during the 1960s.

Track listings[edit]

7" vinyl[edit]

  1. "The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
  2. "Lucky Lisp"

12" vinyl, compact disc and cassette[edit]

  1. "The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
  2. "Lucky Lisp"
  3. "Michael's Bones"

Reviews[edit]

NME gave the single a negative review, with Stuart Maconie saying the track was "'Panic' without the magnetism and the blinding self-confidence" and finished by saying "I would still chain myself to a disused railway line in Bacup for him, but the lad can do better"[2] However, Ned Raggett of Allmusic was much more favorable writing "Morrissey's performance is grand and passionate".[1]

Musicians[edit]

  • Morrissey - vocals
  • Craig Gannon - guitar
  • Neil Taylor - guitar
  • Andy Rourke - bass
  • Stephen Street - keyboards
  • Mike Joyce - drums

Live performances[edit]

The song was performed live by Morrissey on his 1991, 1992, 2007 and 2011 tours.

Release details[edit]

Country Record label Format Catalogue number Notes
UK HMV 7" vinyl POP1620
UK HMV 12" vinyl 12POP1620
UK HMV Compact disc CDPOP1620
UK HMV Cassette TCPOP1620

Reissue 2013[edit]

In February 2013, Morrissey announced the reissue of the single along with a remastered version of his 1991, Kill Uncle, both to be released April 8, 2013. The single will be released in three versions, backed by new live Morrissey songs recorded June 2011 by the BBC.[3]

The 7-inch single will include "People Are The Same Everywhere (BBC live version)" while the cd will include with "Action Is My Middle Name (BBC live version)". "The Kid's A Looker (BBC live version)" will be available via digital download.[3]

On February 7, 2013, a release from Morrissey's official website stated the single would not feature the initial album artwork it was intended to feature. The cover art was to feature a previously unseen 1992 photo of Morrissey and David Bowie appearing together in New York. Bowie had demanded that the photo not be used by EMI UK.[4]

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered in 1994 by the Bent Backed Tulips, otherwise known as alt-pop band Dramarama. The version was acoustic, sung and played entirely by John Easdale, Dramarama's singer/songwriter. Its release was limited to a 7" vinyl single, and served as the B-side to "Tie Me Down".

Finnish band Russian Love made a cover version of the song on their fifth album, Gala Brutale, released by Zen Garden in 1996.

Pop punk band J Church covered the song on their album Nostalgic for Nothing.

NY Hardcore band Leeway covered the song on "The World Still Won't Listen" which was a compilation of hardcore and punk bands covering The Smiths and Morrissey songs.

References[edit]