Suedehead – Morrissey


Year: 1988
Artist: Morrissey
Hit Songs: The More You Ignored Me, The Closer I Get, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, 
Every day is like Sunday, Panic, This Charming Man, How Soon is Now.
Album: Viva Hate

One of the artist in my bucket list I want to see perform live is Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959). He is the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths, an English group  formed in Manchester in 1982. Following the demise of the Smiths in 1998 he released the Viva Hate album that includes the track Suedehead and this single charted higher than any of the singles released by his former band, reaching number five in the UK Singles Chart, and remains one of Morrissey’s most well-known songs.

If you came across the movie The Craft (1996) or heard theme song of the television series Charmed then you have stumbled upon his work (How Soon is Now), better yet, If you are not hiding under a rock in 1994 you cannot miss “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” played in the airwaves. But Morrissey was big when I was growing up, bigger than that of a movie soundtrack that you cannot help but be drawn to his record releases. His distinct voice and those mundane lyrics that you could not possibly fathomed in your whole life can add value to the refrain of  his hits but it actually made sense when he sings it,  made me  think that this once depressed teenager had it all figured out.

A big fan of James Dean he wrote the book, James Dean Is Not Dead when he was 21 and the video clip for this Morrissey single features the singer walking in the streets of Fairmount, Indiana, the boyhood city of James Dean. In the video are also featured the school where James Dean studied and the Park Cemetery where the actor is currently buried.

As per Johnny Marr, former The Smiths member and Morrissey song writing partner “So much has been made of that first meeting with Morrissey, but I suppose that looking back at it, it must have been the attraction of opposites. Like, he is a very tidy person and very organised and that was a bit of a shock to me, plus I had never seen so many books in the one room. I had certainly never met anyone like him and it still intrigues me why he was interested in JM (James Dean).” (Melody Maker, 1985)

Suedeheads were a subculture that grew out from the original 1960s skinhead movement. The lyrics of the Morrissey song are unrelated to that topic.  Although sharing many similarities to 1960s skinheads, suedeheads grew their hair longer and dressed in a more formal manner. Although working class, like the skinheads who preceded them, some suedeheads worked in white collar jobs. The female equivalent of a suedehead was a sort.

“Age shouldn’t affect you. It’s just like the size of your shoes – they don’t determine how you live your life! You’re either marvellous or you’re boring, regardless of your age.” –  Morrissey


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