The release of You Are The Quarry in 2004 made for a triumphant comeback, but if anything the pressure on the 2006 follow-up LP Ringleader Of The Tormentors was even more intense as we waited to see if the quality could be maintained.
The new single was only officially made available some 7 days before the LP, but of course was already widely known thanks to regular airings of the video as well as leaked copies being posted on the internet.
Lyrically, You Have Killed Me is one of the most unusual singles ever released by Morrissey. They drew on the film Accatone, a work released in 1961 and dealing with pimps, prostitutes and thieves living in a rundown part of Rome, and also namechecked other Italian film stars (although I’ll confess to not knowing any of them before this single was released).
At this point in time, Morrissey was obsessed with Rome, choosing to both live and record the latest LP there. It’s a single that I reckon is one of his classiest throughout his long solo career, although I know a number of fans were disappointed that it was so radio-friendly, thanks to the influence of Jesse Tobias, the new guitarist in Morrissey’s band, and co-writer of this single. (Tobias had previously been associated with a number of mainstream American acts). By now no-one could reasonably expect the great man to be churning out pastiches of The Smiths, and in reality, all he was doing was reflecting the sort of music that many of his ageing fans were listening to elsewhere.
The b-sides were also quite interesting. One was a near unrecognisable cover of an old track by The New York Dolls, a 70s act that Morrissey had been obsessed with as a teenager, while the two original tracks were similar to the single in sounding polished and rather mainstream.
mp3 : Morrissey – You Have Killed Me
mp3 : Morrissey – Good Looking Man About Town
mp3 : Morrissey – Human Being
mp3 : Morrissey – I Knew I Was Next
A fabulous collection of songs if you were prepared to accept it was time for Morrissey to start acting his age….indeed, it could be argued that the two original b-sides are as good as anything that was on the critically acclaimed LP many of us rushed out and bought the following week.
Continuing the theme of The Eternal City, the sleeve shot was taken on railtracks in the Pigneto zone of Rome by Italian photographer Fabio Lovino.
Oh and I meant to also say that You Have Killed Me remains one of the great man’s most succesful singles, hitting #3 in the UK charts at the beginning of May 2006, and helped the LP hit #1 in the album charts shortly afterwards – only the third of his LPs to hit that spot (the others were Viva Hate and Vauxhall And I).