The World Won't Listen

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The World Won't Listen
Compilation album by The Smiths
Released 23 February 1987
Recorded 1984–1986
Genre Alternative rock, indie pop
Length 59:26
Label Rough Trade (UK), Sire (US)
Producer Various (see main text)
The Smiths compilations chronology
Hatful of Hollow
The World Won't Listen
Louder Than Bombs
CD reissue cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Blender 3/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork (7.1/10)[3]

The World Won't Listen is a compilation album by The Smiths. It was released in February 1987 by their record company, Rough Trade Records, and reached No. 2 on the British charts, staying on the charts for 15 weeks.


The album was conceived as a collection of the singles and their B-sides from 1985 to 1987. Additionally, the scrapped single "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" (which was passed over for "Shoplifters of the World Unite") and the near-single "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" (a single candidate from The Queen Is Dead that was passed over in favour of "Bigmouth Strikes Again") were included.

The title reflects Morrissey's frustration with the fact that mainstream radio and record buyers still weren't paying attention to the band. As the album included many non-album cuts and single versions, it remains a fan favourite. The music press was critical, however, labeling the album "inessential".[citation needed]

The compilation was rendered largely superfluous only three months after its release when Rough Trade decided to release the similar but extended US-intended compilation "Louder Than Bombs" domestically. This was primarily done to save the consumer from paying high import prices. However, The World Won't Listen contains two songs that do not appear on Louder Than Bombs: the single version of "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" and the single edit of "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore." Additionally, The World Won't Listen contains different versions of two songs that would appear on Louder Than Bombs: "Stretch Out and Wait" features an alternate vocal and "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" appears in a slightly different and longer mix. Also of note is the fact that "Ask" appears on both The World Won't Listen and Louder Than Bombs in a slightly different and longer mix than its single version.

After WEA acquired The Smiths' back catalogue in 1992, all Smiths albums were re-released at mid price, including The World Won't Listen, which was expanded to include a cover of "Golden Lights" and the original Rough Trade cassette edition bonus track "Money Changes Everything" (the "Bigmouth Strikes Again" B-side, also later released on the deluxe edition of The Sound of The Smiths).

British artist Phil Collins produced an artwork inspired by The World Won't Listen with the same name, which was filmed in Turkey, Indonesia and Colombia.


The CD sleeve for The World Won't Listen is based on the cassette version of the sleeve layout; the original album featured a larger picture of a 1950s fairground scene, of which this is a crop. The sleeve was designed by Morrissey, using a photo by Jürgen Vollmer from the book Rock 'N' Roll Times: The Style and Spirit of the Early Beatles and Their First Fans.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Morrissey/Marr except "Golden Lights" written by Twinkle

No. Title Length
1. "Panic" (Single A-side) 2:21
2. "Ask" (Remix of single A-side) 3:15
3. "London" (B-side of "Shoplifters of the World Unite") 2:07
4. "Bigmouth Strikes Again" (From The Queen Is Dead) 3:13
5. "Shakespeare's Sister" (Single A-side) 2:08
6. "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" (From The Queen Is Dead) 4:05
7. "Shoplifters of the World Unite" (Single A-side) 2:58
8. "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" (Single A-side version) 3:16
9. "Money Changes Everything" (B-side of "Bigmouth Strikes Again" – only on CD and cassette versions) 4:43
10. "Asleep" (B-side of "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side") 4:10
11. "Unloveable" (B-side of "Bigmouth Strikes Again") 3:56
12. "Half a Person" (B-side of "Shoplifters of the World Unite") 3:36
13. "Stretch Out and Wait" (Alternate vocal version of B-side of "Shakespeare's Sister") 2:45
14. "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" (Single A-side edit) 3:49
15. "Oscillate Wildly" (B-side of "How Soon Is Now?") 3:26
16. "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" (UK mix of aborted single A-side) 3:32
17. "Rubber Ring" (B-side of "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side") 3:48


The Smiths[edit]

  • Morrissey – vocals
  • Johnny Marr – guitars, keyboard instruments, bass guitar on "Golden Lights"
  • Andy Rourke – bass guitar, cello on "Shakespeare's Sister" and "Oscillate Wildly"
  • Mike Joyce – drums
  • Craig Gannon – rhythm guitar on "Panic", "Ask", "London", "Half a Person", "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" and "Golden Lights"

Additional musicians[edit]

Technical staff[edit]

  • Johnny Marr – producer (track 7)
  • Johnny Marr, Morrissey and Stephen Street – producers (track 3 and 12)
  • Morrissey and Marr – producers (tracks 4, 6, 10–11, 17)
  • John Porter – producer (tracks 1–2, 9, 16, 18)
  • The Smiths – producers (tracks 5, 8, 13–15)



Year Chart Position
1987 UK Albums Chart 2[citation needed]


  1. ^ Tim DiGravina. "The World Won't Listen - The Smiths | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "The Smiths: The Smiths Complete | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". 2011-11-18. Retrieved 2013-10-07.