What Difference Does It Make?

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"What Difference Does It Make?"
Single by The Smiths
from the album The Smiths
Released 16 January 1984
Recorded Late 1983
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:51 (album version)
3:25 (single edit)
Label Rough Trade
Writer(s) Johnny Marr, Morrissey
Producer(s) John Porter
The Smiths singles chronology
"This Charming Man"
"What Difference Does It Make?"
"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
Alternative cover
Alternative cover featuring Morrissey
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

"What Difference Does It Make?" is a 1984 single by British band The Smiths. The single version can be found on the band's self-titled debut album The Smiths. A different version recorded for the John Peel Show on BBC Radio One is featured on the compilation album Hatful of Hollow.

Morrissey has stated that "What Difference Does It Make?" is among his least favourite Smiths songs.[2] However, it became one of the band's first significant chart hits, peaking at No. 12 in the UK.

The song is recognised by the opening riff by guitarist Johnny Marr and the falsetto by Morrissey towards the end of the song.

The character Ray Smith in the Jack Kerouac novel, The Dharma Bums, repeatedly says "What difference does it make?" as well as "Pretty Girls Make Graves."

Cover artwork[edit]

The single cover is a photograph taken on the set of the film The Collector (but not depicted in the actual film), based on the novel by John Fowles. In fact, the title could be a reference to a line from the film: "What difference does a few specimens make to an entire species?" Originally Terence Stamp denied permission for the still to be used, and some pressings featured lead singer Morrissey in a re-enacted scene. In the re-enactment Morrissey is holding a glass of milk, as opposed to a chloroform pad in the original. Eventually, however, Stamp changed his mind, and the covers featuring Morrissey are now very rare and collectible.

Music video[edit]

"What Difference Does It Make?" was released without an accompanying music video. Speaking to Tony Fletcher on The Tube in 1984, Morrissey remarked that he felt that the video market was something that was going to "die very quickly", and that he wanted to "herald the death" of it.[3]

Track listing[edit]

7" RT146
No. Title Length
1. "What Difference Does It Make?" (single edit) 3:25
2. "Back to the Old House"   3:04
  • in original green sleeve
12" RTT146/CD RTT146CD
No. Title Length
1. "What Difference Does It Make?"   3:50
2. "Back to the Old House"   3:04
3. "These Things Take Time"   2:20



Chart Peak
Ireland (IRMA) 12
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 12


External links[edit]