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 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

Ringleader of the Tormentors is the eighth studio album by English alternative rock singer Morrissey. It was released on 3 April 2006 by record label Attack. The album was described as showcasing "a thicker, more rock-driven sound",[1] which Morrissey attributes to new guitarist Jesse Tobias.

The album debuted at number 1 in the UK Albums Chart and number 27 in the US, and also reached number 1 in Sweden, Malta and Greece.

Recording and production[edit]

Recording for the album commenced in late August 2005 in Rome, Italy. 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, contradictingly, 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".[citation needed]

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:

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, handled engineering on the album.


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".[citation needed]

The album's first single, "You Have Killed Me", was first broadcast on the radio station BBC 6 Music on 4 February 2006.[citation needed] The song's lyrics reference Rome and Romans several times, with lines such as "Piazza Cavour, what's my life for?", 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 3 in the UK Singles Chart.[citation needed]

The entire Ringleader of the Tormentors album was leaked on the Morrissey fansite Morrissey-solo on 5 March 2006.[citation needed]

"In the Future When All's Well" 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.[citation needed]

Ringleader of the Tormentors was released on 3 April 2006. It became Morrissey's third number 1 album on the UK Albums Chart, selling 62,000 copies in its first week of release in the UK.[3] It was also the first British album charting to include download sales, 1,200 of which were full album downloads of Ringleader of the Tormentors.[3] 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.[4]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[5]
Blender 4/5 stars[6]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[7]
The Independent 3/5 stars[8]
NME 8/10[9]
Pitchfork 8/10[10]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[11]
The Times 8/10 stars[citation needed]

Ringleader of the Tormentors received a mostly favourable reception from critics.

Andy Gill of The Independent wrote "Musically, it's both tougher and lusher than You Are the Quarry, with proper orchestrations replacing that album's nasty synthetic strings."[8] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote "it's easy to enjoy Ringleader of the Tormentors as merely an everyday Morrissey record, but it's hard not to shake the suspicion that this album is the closest he's ever been to forgettable."[5]

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


Additional personnel
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


  1. ^ "Morrissey Rocks, Revels in Rome on New Album | Billboard". Billboard. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Tony Visconti v3.0". tonyvisconti.com. 11 January 2005. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Sexton, Paul (10 April 2006). "Morrissey Earns Third No. 1 U.K. Album | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (5 August 2008). "New Morrissey Album Pushed to Early 2009 | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Ringleader of the Tormentors – Morrissey | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "The 46-Year-Old Virgin on Blender.com". Blender. May 2006. Archived from the original on 4 May 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Petridis, Alexis (24 March 2006). "CD: Morrissey, Ringleader of the Tormentors | Music | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Gill, Andy (24 March 2006). "Album: Morrissey: <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar --> – Reviews – Music – The Independent". The Independent. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Needham, Alex (31 March 2006). "NME Reviews – Morrissey: Ringleader of the Tormentors | NME.com". NME. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  10. ^ [Hogan, Marc (3 April 2006). "Morrissey: Ringleader of the Tormentors | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Walters, Barry (12 April 2006). "Morrissey Ringleader of the Tormentors Album Review | Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 

External links[edit]

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