The Second British Invasion Music Series — Brit Box Disc 1 Track 1 — “How Soon is Now?” by The Smiths (1984)

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Track 1 on disk 1 of the Brit Box is one even I know.  “How Soon is Now?” is on the album, “Hatful of Hollow,” released in 1984.  Oh how I love that wah-wah, train-coming that pulses throughout.  Such self-absorption is to be expected in an oddball, heroic, social outcast.  (My favorite kind of person, in case you haven’t figured that out by now.)

Tidbits:

from Songfacts:

This song – which guitarist, Johnny Marr, described as The Smiths’ “most enduring record” – is about their frontman Morrissey’s crippling shyness. It has since become an anthem for the alienated and socially isolated.

This was a very complex song to record. Marr broke the process down to The Guitar Magazine: “I wanted it to be really, really tense and swampy, all at the same time. Layering the slide part was what gave it the real tension. The tremolo effect came from laying down a regular rhythm part with a capo at the 2nd fret on a Les Paul, then sending that out in to the live room to four Fender Twins. John was controlling the tremolo on two of them and I was controlling the other two, and whenever they went out of sync we just had to stop the track and start all over again. It took an eternity.”

 


How Soon Is Now?
I am the son
and the heir
of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
I am the son and the heir
of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am Human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

There’s a club, if you like to go
you could meet somebody who really loves you
so you go, and you stand on your own
and you leave on your own
and you go home, and you cry
and you want to die

When you say it’s gonna happen “now”
well, when exactly do you mean?
see I’ve already waited too long
and all my hope is gone

Songwriters: Johnny Marr and Morissey

 

What memories do you have that are associated with this song?

 

24 Comments Add yours

  1. hanspostcard says:

    A great lead off track- I took my sister to see The Smiths in the mid-80’s- a lot of girls yelling ‘Morrissey’- but it was a great concert.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Hans. So very cool that you saw them live!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Chris Hall says:

    I saw The Smiths at Uni in 1985 – happy days!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Awesome, Chris!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ron Rowland says:

    Not familiar with this tune: I am 0 for 1.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Do you like the sound of it, Ron?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Paul says:

    Ok I have heard this one before but never paid attention to lyrics – can see why it became an anthem. Love that tremolo effect – very apparent on headphones

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Ah so that’s what that sound is called. Cool you know it better after today.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. ghostmmnc says:

    Very cool song! I’d never heard it before. At first the music sounded like that song ‘hippie chic’. whatever that repeating music is I really like it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      So happy to have introduced you to this song, Barbara. My ex-bf loved The Smiths so this one was familiar to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Aphoristical says:

    Such a great opening track.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, it is! I think this series is going to be a lot of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The sound of that tune with the tremolo effect is really cool. Strangely, while the name The Smiths immediately rang a bell, I don’t think I had heard this tune before. Given its memorable sound, I would probably recall it. Then again, sometimes I can’t remember what I did the previous day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you liked the tune, Christian. Have you heard of Morrissey? He seemed to be the one everyone remembers from the group.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have not, though based on a quick glance in Wikipedia, it appears he has enjoyed significant success in the UK, also as a solo artist. I suppose sometimes I live under a rock! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Christian no you don’t live under a rock. There is just so much music out there it is impossible to know it all.

          Like

  8. Dave says:

    Quite a way to kick off the series, and the disc! Love this song, one of the best of the 80s. It is also one of the very few songs that really made me stop “dead in my tracks” the first time I heard it and ask, possibly out loud, “What is that?!” and want to go to the record store to get it…whatever it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Dave, I love knowing this about you with this song. The disc starts off with a bang.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dora says:

    How do they do this? So lyrical and hysterical at the same time! I so identify though. The outcast mentality is the air I breathe.
    pax,
    dora

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      44 years old and no changes in the human condition. The barometer of either good songwriting or our lack of progress. Thanks for listening, reading, and commenting, Dora.

      Like

  10. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    That intro won me over the first time I heard it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I understand why 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I was always a great fan of The Smiths, their sound was unmistakable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Agree on their sound. I know very little about them but would like to know more.

      Liked by 1 person

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