Hatful of Hollow

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Hatful of Hollow
Compilation album by
Released12 November 1984
LabelRough Trade
The Smiths chronology
The Smiths
Hatful of Hollow
Meat Is Murder
Singles from Hatful of Hallow
  1. "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
    Released: 21 May 1984
  2. "William, It Was Really Nothing"
    Released: 20 August 1984
  3. "How Soon Is Now?"
    Released: 28 January 1985
Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[3]
Record Mirror[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[7]

Hatful of Hollow is a compilation album by English rock band the Smiths, released on 12 November 1984[11] by Rough Trade Records. The album features tracks from BBC Radio 1 sessions, their first single "Hand in Glove" (a different mix of which had been included on their first album) and two new singles and their B-sides. It was eventually released in the United States on 9 November 1993 by Sire Records, who had initially declined to release the album in the US. Sire instead released Louder Than Bombs in the US in 1987—which is effectively a hybrid of Hatful of Hollow and a subsequent UK compilation album The World Won't Listen plus some tracks which do not appear on either.

Hatful of Hollow reached No. 7 on the UK Albums Chart, remaining on the chart for 46 weeks.[12] In 2000, Q magazine placed the album at No. 44 on its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever".


The current sleeve for Hatful of Hollow is the CD issue sleeve, featuring a cropped photograph of the otherwise unknown Fabrice Colette taken by Gilles Decroix. The original sleeve, pictured above, included a tattoo of a Jean Cocteau drawing on Colette's left shoulder, which Colette commissioned in June 1983 because he idolised Cocteau. The photograph is taken from a July 1983 special edition of the French newspaper Libération.[13] Additionally, the old cover had a large sky-blue frame with the legends "The Smiths" and "Hatful of Hollow" above and underneath the picture. Editions after 1987 feature the cropped version with the text superimposed, although the 2011 vinyl re-issue reinstated the original sleeve.


The album consists mainly of songs recorded over several BBC Radio 1 sessions in 1983. Tracks shown in bold were included on the album.[14]

  1. For John Peel on 18 May 1983 (broadcast 31 May): "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 26 June 1983 (broadcast 4 July): "These Things Take Time", "You've Got Everything Now", "Wonderful Woman"
  3. For Jensen on 25 August, 1983 (broadcast 5 September): "Accept Yourself", "I Don't Owe You Anything", "Pretty Girls Make Graves", "Reel Around the Fountain"
  4. For Peel on 14 September, 1983 (broadcast 21 September): "This Charming Man", "Back to the Old House", "This Night Has Opened My Eyes", "Still Ill"

When first broadcast, these radio sessions mainly featured songs which were otherwise unavailable. All were subsequently re-recorded for singles or for the band's debut album the following year. "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" was recorded in the studio in June 1984, but the only version ever released was the September Peel session.

Hatful of Hollow 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", along with their respective 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 both the UK and the US. It reached No. 24 in the British charts, but failed to chart in the US. Morrissey and Johnny Marr lamented the lack of chart success of what they considered their strongest song thus far. "How Soon Is Now?" also featured on the soundtrack to the 1986 film Out of Bounds, but wasn't included on the accompanying soundtrack album.[15]

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 higher key than the version on The Smiths.
  • "These Things Take Time" features bass that is more prominent and drums that are less controlled than in the version from the "What Difference Does It Make?" 12" single and on Louder Than Bombs. Sliding guitar figures 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.
  • "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" is an acoustic piece with melancholic guitars and vocals, as opposed to the full band version on the "What Differences Does It Make?" single.
  • "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 parts are not included. It is also in a higher key than the version on The Smiths.

In addition, the original single version of "Hand in Glove" is included, not the remixed version that appears on The Smiths. It features a fade-intro and fade-out, louder bass, and vocals that sound very distant.

Track listing[edit]

All BBC sessions previously unreleased.

All lyrics are written by Morrissey; all music is composed by Johnny Marr

Side one
1."William, It Was Really Nothing"Single A-side2:09
2."What Difference Does It Make?"John Peel session, 18/5/833:11
3."These Things Take Time"David Jensen session, 26/6/832:32
4."This Charming Man"Peel session, 14/9/832:42
5."How Soon Is Now?"B-side of "William, It Was Really Nothing"6:44
6."Handsome Devil"Peel session, 18/5/832:47
7."Hand in Glove"Single A-side mix3:13
8."Still Ill"Peel session, 14/9/833:32
Side two
9."Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"Single A-side3:33
10."This Night Has Opened My Eyes"Peel session, 14/9/833:39
11."You've Got Everything Now"Jensen session, 26/6/834:18
12."Accept Yourself"Jensen session, 25/8/834:01
13."Girl Afraid"B-side of "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"2:48
14."Back to the Old House"Peel session, 14/9/833:02
15."Reel Around the Fountain"Peel session, 18/5/835:51
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" is etched into the runout groove of side A. As well as being a pun on Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, it is an allusion to the impotence that Ernest Hemingway suffered in his final years. "Ian (EIRE)", etched on side B, refers to Marr's younger brother.


Additional musicians[edit]



Chart performance for Hatful of Hollow
Chart (1984–1985) Peak
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[19] 91
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[20] 21
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 28
UK Albums Chart[22] 7

Certifications and sales[edit]

Certifications and sales for Hatful of Hollow
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Platinum 300,000^
United States 133,809[24]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Hatful of Hollow – The Smiths". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  2. ^ Power, Tony (October 2004). "The Smiths: Hatful of Hollow". Blender. Vol. 3, no. 8. Archived from the original on 30 June 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (7 July 1991). "The Smiths And Solo". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  4. ^ Wolk, Douglas (18 November 2011). "The Smiths: The Smiths Complete". Pitchfork. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Radio Ga Ga". Q. No. 401. August 2019. p. 119.
  6. ^ Jones, Dylan (10 November 1984). "The Smiths: Hatful of Hollow". Record Mirror. p. 17.
  7. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Smiths". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 753–754. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  8. ^ Harrison, Andrew (May 1993). "Buy the Big Reissue...". Select. No. 35. pp. 104–105.
  9. ^ Black, Bill (17 November 1984). "It's a Fair Cap!". Sounds.
  10. ^ Dalton, Stephen (August 1998). "The Smiths Discography". Uncut. No. 15. p. 67.
  11. ^ "News" (PDF). Record Mirror. 20 October 1984. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 January 2022. Retrieved 1 July 2022. The Smiths release a bargain price special album on November 2. 'Hatful Of Hollow'
  12. ^ David Roberts British Hit Singles and Albums, Guinness World Records Limited
  13. ^ Hatful Of Hollow sleeve source (Liberation, July 1983)
  14. ^ "The Smiths radio performances".
  15. ^ Out of Bounds (1986) – Soundtracks – IMDb
  16. ^ Goddard, S, 2013. Songs That Saved Your Life - The Art of The Smiths 1982–87. 2nd ed. U.K.: Titan Books. P. 121
  17. ^ Cavanagh, D, 1993. Irreproachable: The Smiths: the very best of British?. Q Magazine, 1 December 1993.
  18. ^ Fletcher, T, 2012. A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths. 1st ed. U.K.: Random House. p. 355.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 9662". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  20. ^ "Charts.nz – The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  21. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  22. ^ "SMITHS | Artist". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  23. ^ "British album certifications – The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  24. ^ "Morrissey/Smiths US album sales in 2007 and total sales since 1992 - Morrissey-solo".