Monday, October 12, 1992

The Smiths “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” released

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

The Smiths

Writer(s): Johnny Marr, Morrissey (see lyrics here)

Released: October 12, 1992

First Charted: October 24, 1992

Peak: 2 CO, 25 UK, 14 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 108.68 video, 517.28 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Perhaps no other lyric better represents the Smiths than “And if a double-decker bus crashes into us / To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die / And if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us / To die by your side, well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine.” With these words from “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” Morrissey “ups the sad-and-doomed quotient by leaps and bounds,” AMG showcasing his talent for simultaneously romantic and morbid imagery. It is “an introspective and lonely lyric underpinned by a delicate, intricate, acoustic-led band.” XFM

“Every instrument, every sound in the song’s four minutes, is positioned for maximum emotional impact. Johnny Marr’s weepy string arrangements dominate most open spaces that Morrissey’s pensive vocals don’t fill.” AMG Marr, the band’s guitarist who gave the band their jangly-pop sound, described the recording process as “magical.” WK

In his 2002 book Songs That Saved Your Life, Simon Goddard shows how the song’s narrative is similar to the movie Rebel Without a Cause. In the 1955 classic, James Dean – who Morrissey idolized – “leaves his tortous home life, being the passenger to a potential romantic partner.” WK Goddard also characterized the song as an “explicit glamorization of suicide.” WK

The song was first released on the Smiths’ 1986 album The Queen Is Dead. It was released as a single six years later – after the band’s demise – in support of their compilation Best II.’s Tim DiGravina called it “one of the most touching and romantic songs in the Smiths’ discography.” AMG XFM said it “may also be the band at their best.” XFM In 2014, NME ranked it the #12 song of all time. WK


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First posted 1/20/2024.

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