Not only is this a fantastically funny, upbeat and wonderful single, you flip it over and find two quite special b-sides:-
mp3 : The Smiths – Sheila Take A Bow
mp3 : The Smiths – Is It Really So Strange?
mp3 : The Smiths – Sweet and Tender Hooligan
Here’s some facts and background info.
It was released in April 1987, reaching No. 10 in the UK Singles Chart, their highest chart single placing while The Smiths were together.
Morrissey‘s original idea had been to bring back Sandie Shaw to be a second vocalist on the track but after she had recorded her vocals, that version was scrapped. Sandie was not happy in being reduced to what she perceived just to be a backing vocalist. Another early version of the track was produced by John Porter but it was also deemed unsatisfactory, this time by the band. It featured a prominent sitar-sounding riff:-
mp3 : The Smiths – Sheila Take A Bow (John Porter version)
Stephen Street came on board. He scrapped the sitar (which had been played by Porter) and instead used a brief audio clip of a marching temperance band from the 1954 film Hobson’s Choice in the song’s intro.
Oh and to complete the catalogue of woes, the scheduled promo video had to be scrapped at the 11th hour when Morrissey refused to show up for the taping.
The two b-sides were lifted from a John Peel session recorded and aired in late December 1986. Just as well as the band never got round to recording and releasing their own studio versions of what are rather outstanding songs.
In the midst of life we are in debt, etc.