Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors

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"Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors"
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors.jpg
Single by Editors
from the album An End Has a Start
ReleasedJune 18, 2007 (UK)
June 26, 2007 (US)
GenreIndie rock, alternative rock
LabelKitchenware Records (UK)
Epic Records (US)
FADER Label (US)
Songwriter(s)Editors (Edward Lay, Russell Leetch, Tom Smith, Chris Urbanowicz)
Producer(s)Jacknife Lee
Editors singles chronology
"All Sparks"
"Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors"
"An End Has a Start"

"Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" is the first single from Editors' second album An End Has a Start. It was released as a digital download on June 11, 2007 and as a physical single through CD and vinyl on June 18, 2007 in the United Kingdom. It peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart in its first week of physical release and became a moderate to minor hit in Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland. A single was also released in the US on June 26, 2007. The song was set to debut on Zane Lowe's show on April 30; however, the song leaked on the internet a few days preceding.


The song was recorded at Grouse Lodge, under the supervision of producer Jacknife Lee. Lead vocals, rhythm guitar and piano were provided by Tom Smith, lead guitar and synth by Chris Urbanowicz, bass guitar by Russell Leetch and percussion by Ed Lay. Smith and Lay were also part of the choir, along with producer Jacknife Lee, audio engineer Tom McFall and singer Anne Struther, all of whom were chosen purely because they were in the studio at the time.[1][2] When performed live, the choir vocals are provided by Smith, Lay and Leetch, rather than using a pre-recorded backing track.[1]


The intro of the song is an unaccompanied drum beat played for 8 seconds, at which point the lead vocals and piano, both by Tom Smith, enter. The piano part plays a continual progression of three chords: G, C and E minor. At the end of the first verse, the piano is replaced by a short guitar solo, by Chris Urbanowicz, which continues the progression. The second verse returns to piano, which segues into a distorted rhythm guitar part for the chorus.[3]

The chorus itself has two parts: the first part is four lines long and uses the chord progression of D, E minor, A minor, while the second part is two lines long, but repeated twice, and uses G, D, E minor, C. After the second chorus, the song enters a bridge, consisting of just piano and vocals, with a faint synthesised accompaniment. Following the end of the vocal part, the song moves into a break as a bass guitar enters,[4] leading up to a reprise of the guitar solo, accompanied by a choir who repeat the lyrics of the bridge. The song ends with Smith singing the second part of the chorus, accompanied by the lead guitar, with an abrupt fade out on the final syllable.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" was filmed in and around Prague on the Vltava,[5] and depicts, in a nonlinear manner, a young girl with the ability to walk on water escaping from a hospital, escaping via railway lines, a red light district and a Romani encampment to the river Vltava where she attempts to row away, only to run back across the water surface to avoid a police boat, all intercut with clips of the Editors playing the song in an abandoned ship.[6] The video ends with Tom Smith at a dockyard meeting the girl, who runs away in fright.[7]

The woman that helps hide the runaway, presumably a prostitute (the woman), changes in appearance. The runaway's hood is alternately flipped up and down and the dog that runs with her might also be different in different scenes. This is all to signify that the runaway has escaped many times before.

The video was directed by Siggi Kinski and Stefán Árni Þorgeirsson of production company Arni & Kinski, who based the video on a bad childhood experience of a hospital.[8] The video was originally to be filmed in London. After this proved prohibitively expensive, production moved to Prague with an entirely new cast.[7]


Most initial reviews were positive: NME described the song as "audacious, certainly, and very good to boot", adding that "Editors have found their life force in death itself",[9] while MusicOMH stated that "at 5 minutes long it's worth every second."[10] However, some reviews were less favourable; Stereogum described the song as "mildly warmed over post-Coldplay arena rock" and described the percussion of the song as the "incessant, downbeat crash cymbal bashing of every band trying to sound 'big'."[11]

Track listings[edit]

Digital download:

  1. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" – 4:56

UK CD single: SKXCD93

  • Card sleeve
  1. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" – 4:56
  2. "An Eye for an Eye" – 4:25

7" vinyl #1: SKX932

  1. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" – 4:56
  2. "Some Kind of Spark" – 4:26

7" vinyl #2: SKX93

  • Clear vinyl, shiny metallic cover with silver sleeve, limited to 10,000 copies
  1. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" – 4:56
  2. "The Picture" – 3:50

US CD single: 88697 12171 2

  • Regular jewel case
  1. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" – 4:56
  2. "An Eye for an Eye" – 4:25
  3. "The Picture" – 3:50

European CD single: P.I.L.086CD 449.3086.122

  • Slimline jewel case
  1. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" (Radio Edit) – 4:56
  2. "An Eye for an Eye" – 4:25
  3. "The Picture" – 3:50
  4. "Some Kind of Spark" – 4:26

Kitchenware Promo: SKCD93P

  • Card sleeve
  1. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" (Radio Edit) – 4:09
  2. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" (Full) – 4:56

FADER Promo:

  • Slimline jewel case
  1. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" (Radio Edit) – 4:09
  2. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" (Full) – 4:56




  • Produced by Jacknife Lee
  • Recorded by Tom McFall, Jon Gray, Jacknife Lee, Sam Bell
  • Mixed by Cenzo Townsend



  1. ^ a b 6 Music presents Editors, BBC 6 Music. (Hub performance index). Retrieved on 2007-06-28.
  2. ^ An End Has a Start (Insert). Editors. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Kitchenware Records. 2007.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors Chords". Ultimate Guitar Archive. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  4. ^ "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors Bass Tab". Ultimate Guitar Archive. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  5. ^ "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors - video exclusive". Sony BMG. Retrieved 2007-05-20.
  6. ^ "Editors Return With New Album + Video". Sony BMG. 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  7. ^ a b "Editors - Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors". Making the Video. 2007-06-22. MTV2 Europe.
  8. ^ "NME Chart Show". NME. 23 June 2007.
  9. ^ "NME Track reviews". NME. 26 May 2007.
  10. ^ "Editors - Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors". MusicOMH. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  11. ^ "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors". Stereogum. May 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  12. ^ " – Editors – Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  13. ^ " – Editors – Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Chart Track: Week 25, 2007". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  15. ^ " – Editors – Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Notowanie nr1332" (in Polish). LP3. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  19. ^ "The Official UK Singles Chart 2007" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 24 March 2019.

External links[edit]