Bona Drag

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Bona Drag
Morrissey-Bona Drag.jpg
Cover art for the original 1990 CD release
Compilation album by
Released15 October 1990
GenreAlternative rock
Major Minor (reissue)
ProducerStephen Street; Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley
Morrissey chronology
Viva Hate
Bona Drag
Kill Uncle
Singles from Bona Drag
  1. "Piccadilly Palare"
    Released: 9 October 1990
2010 remaster cover
Morrissey Bona Drag remaster cover.jpeg
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[2]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[3]
Los Angeles Times2.5/5 stars[4]
Q4/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[8]
Uncut4/5 stars[9]
The Village VoiceB+[10]

Bona Drag is a compilation album by Morrissey released on 15 October 1990. The album features an array of Morrissey's most popular songs from his early solo career, most of which had not been released on any previous album. The album name meaning nice outfits is an example of the subculture slang Polari explored further on the album's first track "Piccadilly Palare". The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on 6 December 2000. In 2010, the album was remastered and expanded to include six bonus tracks.


After releasing Viva Hate in March 1988, Morrissey modified his method of releasing music. Instead of choosing to produce an immediate follow-up album, he decided to release a string of independent singles in the hopes of achieving success in that market. Morrissey initially planned to release a second album after releasing a few holdover singles.

As such, he released "The Last of the Famous International Playboys", "Interesting Drug", and "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" over the course of 1989. The first two of these became top ten hits. However, by the end of 1989 it became apparent that he would not be able to put out an album of new material soon enough.

Morrissey decided to scrap the idea of a full-length LP and release a compilation of singles and B-sides instead. Thus, the Bona Drag project was born. "November Spawned a Monster" was released in May 1990 to modest success; the album and the single "Piccadilly Palare" followed, both released on the same day that October.


Bona Drag features nearly all of the strong pieces of material written by Morrissey in the first three years of his solo career. The tracks include four top ten hits, and the two singles from Viva Hate: "Suedehead" and "Everyday Is Like Sunday".

The album is also significant for including the first tracks by Morrissey to chart in the United States. "Piccadilly Palare" and "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" both reached number 2 on the Modern Rock chart. "The Last of the Famous International Playboys" went to number 3, "November Spawned a Monster", number 6, and "Interesting Drug", number 11. Bona Drag launched Morrissey's career in the US, and in many ways it marked the turning point after which he became less popular in the UK but achieved increasing success in America.

The album sleeve is taken from Morrissey's "November Spawned a Monster" promotion video. Morrissey's shirt colour was altered from black to red.

20th anniversary reissue[edit]

In October 2010, the album was reissued on the resurrected Major Minor label, with six officially unreleased studio recordings. The artwork was edited and inner artwork updated with previously unseen photos chosen by Morrissey.[11] It entered the UK charts at number 67.[12] The reissue notably included several edits, including removing a verse from 'Ouija Board Ouija Board' and restoring a previously cut verse to 'Piccadilly Palare'.

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Morrissey and Street, except where noted.


Side A
1."Piccadilly Palare"Morrissey, ArmstrongSingle A-side3:28
2."Interesting Drug" Single A-side3:27
3."November Spawned a Monster"Morrissey, LangerSingle A-side5:28
4."Will Never Marry" Edited version of B-side of "Everyday Is Like Sunday"2:22
5."Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference" B-side of "Interesting Drug"2:51
6."The Last of the Famous International Playboys" Single A-side3:40
7."Ouija Board, Ouija Board" Single A-side4:25
Side B
1."Hairdresser on Fire" B-side of "Suedehead"3:49
2."Everyday Is Like Sunday" Single A-side3:34
3."He Knows I'd Love to See Him"Morrissey, ArmstrongB-side of "November Spawned a Monster"3:08
4."Yes, I Am Blind"Morrissey, RourkeB-side of "Ouija Board, Ouija Board"3:44
5."Lucky Lisp" B-side of "The Last of the Famous International Playboys"2:51
6."Suedehead" Single A-side3:54
7."Disappointed" B-side of "Everyday is Like Sunday"3:06

2010 re-release[edit]

The 2010 re-release features the following additional tracks:

  • "Happy Lovers at Last United" (Outtake from "Everyday Is Like Sunday" sessions)
  • "Lifeguard on Duty" (Outtake from Viva Hate sessions)
  • "Please Help the Cause Against Loneliness" (demo) (Outtake from Viva Hate, previously covered by Sandie Shaw)
  • "Oh Phoney" (Outtake from Bona Drag sessions) (Morrissey, Armstrong)
  • "The Bed Took Fire" (early version of "At Amber")
  • "Let the Right One Slip In" (alternate long mix) (Morrissey, Alain Whyte)

The following changes have been made to the original album:

  • "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" has a verse removed ("No, I was not pushing that time")
  • "Piccadilly Palare" has an extra verse, as has circulated on bootlegs ("A cold-water room")
  • "Interesting Drug" fades into "November Spawned a Monster"
  • "Suedehead" edited to remove guitar fade on the intro.

Etchings on vinyl[edit]



Guest musicians[edit]




Year Chart Position
1990 New Zealand Albums 40[13]
1990 UK Albums Chart 9[14]
1990 Billboard 200 59[15]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[16] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Bona Drag – Morrissey". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  2. ^ Kot, Greg (15 November 1990). "Morrissey: Bona Drag (Sire/Reprise)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  3. ^ Arnold, Gina (23 November 1990). "Bona Drag". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  4. ^ Willman, Chris (25 November 1990). "Morrissey: 'Bona Drag' Reprise". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  5. ^ Maconie, Stuart (20 October 1990). "Interesting Drag". NME: 4.
  6. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (14 October 2010). "Morrissey: Bona Drag [20th Anniversary Edition]". Pitchfork. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  7. ^ "Morrissey: Bona Drag". Q (292). November 2010.
  8. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Morrissey". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 561–62. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  9. ^ McKay, Alastair (November 2010). "Morrissey: Bona Drag". Uncut (162): 94.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (7 May 1991). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Bona Drag: 20th Anniversary vinyl and CD editions release information". True To You. 12 July 2010. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Official UK Albums Top 100 – 21st January 2012 | The UK Charts | Top 40 | Official Charts Company". Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "British album certifications – Morrisey – Bona Drag". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Bona Drag in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Morrissey – Bona drag". Recording Industry Association of America.