Hear Awful Smiths Song Morrissey Called Out In Letter to Johnny Marr - Rolling Stone
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Hear the Famously Awful Smiths Song Morrissey Called Out in Letter to Johnny Marr

He could have picked out any Smiths classic, but he went with their obscure cover of the 1965 tune “Golden Lights”

It’s not quite clear what Johnny Marr said recently to piss off Morrissey, but it resulted in an extremely bitchy “open letter” from the former Smiths singer to his one-time guitarist and songwriting partner.

“You don’t know me,” Morrissey wrote. “You know nothing of my life, my intentions, my thoughts, my feelings. Yet you talk as if you were my personal psychiatrist with consistent and uninterrupted access to my instincts. We haven’t known each other for 35 years — which is many lifetimes ago. When we met you and I were not successful. We both helped each other become whatever it is we are today.

“Can you not just leave it that?” he continued. “Must you persistently, year after year, decade after decade, blame me for everything…from the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami to the dribble on your grandma’s chin?”

Marr responded with a brief tweet. “An ‘open letter’ hasn’t really been a thing since 1953,” he wrote. “It’s all ‘social media’ now. Even Donald J Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business…a bit 2021 yeah ? #makingindiegreatagain.”

Had he elaborated, he would have probably explained that he never really wants to talk about Morrissey in interviews. It’s just that most everyone who interviews Marr brings up Morrissey at some point and asks him a direct question about the singer’s most recent scandalous public statement. Marr begrudgingly gives some sort of response, and it generates headlines. (We can tell you from personal experience, Marr would much rather speak about basically anything besides Morrissey when he’s being interviewed.)

“You found me inspirational enough to make music with me for six years,” Morrissey wrote midway through his missive. “If I was, as you claim, such an eyesore monster, where exactly did this leave you? Kidnapped? Mute? Chained? Abducted by cross-eyed extraterrestrials? It was YOU who played guitar on ‘Golden Lights’ — not me.”

That’s the only Smiths song that Morrissey calls out in his entire letter, and it’s a very odd one to highlight since it’s an obscure cover of a 1965 tune by English singer-songwriter Twinkle that originally appeared as a B side to “Ask.” Most hardcore Smiths fans consider it one of the worst tunes in their catalog. When Rolling Stone‘s Rob Sheffield ranked all 73 Smiths songs, he placed “Golden Lights” at number 67.

“For reasons nobody has ever explained, ‘Golden Lights’ got enshrined on the Louder Than Bombs compilation, so it’s earned its legend as a song fans love to hate,” he wrote, “although you have to give it bonus points for turning into such a hilarious disaster.”

Morrissey could have called out Marr’s work on “How Soon Is Now?,” “The Queen Is Dead,” “Panic,” “This Charming Man,” or any number of brilliant songs they wrote together. But he went with “Golden Lights.” Check it out above to see if Smiths fans are correct to hate on it so much.

Oh, and for those few remaining Smiths fans that still think a reunion is possible at some point, read Morrissey’s complete letter again. This is not a man about to let bygones be bygones and sign a $100 million deal with Live Nation for a worldwide reunion tour. He doesn’t even want Johnny Marr to utter his name aloud. Sharing the stage with him and their old buddies Mike and Andy is an impossible dream that is never, ever happening.

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