Meat Is Murder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the album by The Smiths. For the book, see Meat Is Murder (book).
Meat Is Murder
Studio album by The Smiths
Released 11 February 1985
Recorded Winter 1984
Studio Amazon Studios, Liverpool and Ridge Farm, Surrey, England
Length 39:46
Producer The Smiths
The Smiths chronology
Hatful of Hollow
Meat Is Murder
The Queen Is Dead
Singles from Meat Is Murder
  1. "Barbarism Begins at Home"
    Released: April 1985
  2. "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore"
    Released: 1 July 1985
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Blender 3/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune 2/4 stars[3]
Pitchfork Media 8.1/10[4]
Q 4/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[6]
Select 4/5[7]
Sounds 4.5/5 stars[8]
Uncut 4/5 stars[9]
The Village Voice C+[10]

Meat Is Murder is the second studio album by the English rock band the Smiths. It was released on 11 February 1985 by Rough Trade Records and became the band's sole number one album in the UK charts during the band's lifetime, staying on the chart for thirteen weeks. The album reached number 40 in Canada[11] and number 110 in the US.

Writing and recording[edit]

After the relative production disappointment of the band's 1984 debut album The Smiths, singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr produced the album themselves, assisted only by engineer Stephen Street, whom they had first met on the session for "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" and requested the contact number of.[12] Officially, the record's production is credited to "The Smiths", with Rourke and Joyce allowed say about their instruments' sound-levels in the mixing.

Meat Is Murder was more strident and political than its predecessor, including the pro-vegetarian title track (Morrissey forbade the rest of the group from being photographed eating meat),[13] and the anti-corporal punishment "The Headmaster Ritual". Musically, the band had grown more adventurous, with Marr and Rourke channelling rockabilly and funk influences in "Rusholme Ruffians" and "Barbarism Begins at Home".

Morrissey also brought a political stance to many of his interviews, courting further controversy. Among his targets were the Thatcher administration, the monarchy, and his musical contemporaries. When asked about Band Aid, which was being strongly promoted in the UK media at the time, he quipped, "One can have great concern for the people of Ethiopia, but it's another thing to inflict daily torture on the people of England."[14]

To build upon the album's soundscape Morrissey provided Marr and Street with his personal copies of BBC sound effects records to source for samples.[15] Morrissey would continue this practice on future Smiths singles and albums.

Part of the recording of the album was featured in a 1985 episode of the BBC's The Old Grey Whistle Test.


The subsequent single-only release "Shakespeare's Sister" was not a great success in chart terms, nor was "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore", the sole single from the album, which peaked at 49. The success of September 1985's "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side", however, was an indication of bigger things to come.

The song "How Soon Is Now?", originally issued as the B-side of "William, It Was Really Nothing", was added on both the US and Canadian editions of Meat Is Murder after becoming a success in North American dance clubs and on alternative radio (it was also added to post-1992 WEA re-issues of the album). This song was eventually released as a single in its own right in the UK, reaching No. 24 in the charts. Two Meat Is Murder album tracks—"Well I Wonder" (from the "How Soon Is Now?" single) and "What She Said" (from the "Shakespeare's Sister" single)—were also originally B-sides of singles. The 2011 remaster of Meat Is Murder restored the album's original UK track listing.


The album's sleeve uses a 1967 photograph of Marine Cpl. Michael Wynn in the Vietnam War,[16] though with the wording on his helmet changed from "Make War Not Love" to "Meat Is Murder". The original image was used for Emile de Antonio's 1968 documentary In the Year of the Pig.


In 2003, Meat Is Murder was ranked number 295 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[17] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Morrissey and Johnny Marr.

No. Title Length
1. "The Headmaster Ritual" 4:52
2. "Rusholme Ruffians" 4:20
3. "I Want the One I Can't Have" 3:14
4. "What She Said" 2:42
5. "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" 4:59
6. "Nowhere Fast" 2:37
7. "Well I Wonder" 4:00
8. "Barbarism Begins at Home" 6:57
9. "Meat Is Murder" 6:06


  • "How Soon Is Now?" was added to the US edition and to post-1992 UK WEA re-issues, as track 6. The 2011 remaster restored the original UK track listing.




Year Chart Position
1985 Dutch Albums 39[22]
1985 German Albums 45[23]
1985 New Zealand Albums 13[24]
1985 Swedish Albums 27[25]
1985 UK Albums Chart 1[26]
1985 US Billboard 200 110[27]


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Meat Is Murder – The Smiths". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Power, Tony (15 September 2004). "The Smiths: Meat Is Murder". Blender. Archived from the original on 30 June 2006. Retrieved 9 November 2015. 
  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 Media. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "The Smiths: Meat Is Murder". Q (87): 139. December 1993. 
  6. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 752–53. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  7. ^ Harrison, Andrew (May 1993). "The Smiths". Select (35): 104. 
  8. ^ Black, Bill (16 February 1985). "Steak Your Claim". Sounds. 
  9. ^ Dalton, Stephen (1998). "The Smiths: Meat Is Murder". Uncut. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (25 June 1985). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  11. ^ RPM Chart Archives, 27 April 1985,
  12. ^ "Interview With Stephen Street". HitQuarters. 27 September 2005. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "How Morrissey helped turn vegetarianism into a mainstream movement in the UK.". Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  14. ^ "Band Aid vs. Morrissey ..." (http). 18 November 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2007. 
  15. ^ Goddard, S, 2013. Songs That Saved Your Life - The Art of The Smiths 1982–87. 2nd ed. U.K.: Titan Books. P. 151.
  16. ^ "Soldier Rests". September 21, 1967. Retrieved June 11, 2016.  Bettmann image 514703444 with caption "Da Nang, South Vietnam: Marine Cpl. Michael Wynn, 20, of Columbus, Ohio, seems to be trying to get a message across with a takeoff of the hippie slogan 'make war not love' written on his helmet here. Wynn is taking a breather during Operation Ballistic Charge. 9/21/67"
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2. 
  19. ^ Goddard, S, 2013. Songs That Saved Your Life - The Art of The Smiths 1982–87. 2nd ed. U.K.: Titan Books. P. 137.
  20. ^ Goddard, S, 2013. Songs That Saved Your Life - The Art of The Smiths 1982–87. 2nd ed. U.K.: Titan Books. P. 142.
  21. ^ Goddard, S, 2013. Songs That Saved Your Life - The Art of The Smiths 1982–87. 2nd ed. U.K.: Titan Books. P. 151.
  22. ^ The Smiths - Meat Is Murder -
  23. ^ Offizielle Deutsche Charts - Offizielle Deutsche Charts
  24. ^ - The Smiths - Meat Is Murder
  25. ^ - The Smiths - Meat Is Murder
  26. ^ SMITHS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company
  27. ^ "The Smiths - chart history". Retrieved 29 June 2016. 

External links[edit]