A pleasantly lighthearted song which I am dangerously tempted to describe (against my better instincts) as a 'romp'; Sheila Take A Bow is the title cut of the Smiths' 14th single.

The song is almost perfectly typical of the divisive nature of the Smith's output: detractors point to the generally negative nature of most of the words used in the lyrics as evidence that the band is depressing, morbid, and obsessed with the aches and pains of everyday life. The Smiths fan, conversely, hears the song as a call to rebellion against each of those same things, especially given the rather exuberant guitar track.

Aside from the happy/sad debate the track is noteworthy for containing some fairly classic Moz gender-ambiguity in the final verse. The ambiguity is highlighted by the inclusion of Candy Darling as the single's cover star. The photo is not likely to be taken at first (or second, really) glance as that of a drag queen and Morrissey apparently felt that he had played a fairly clever joke on the unsuspecting public ("To be able to inflict Candy Darling on the record buying public was a perfect example of my very dangerous sense of humour"). The sleeve design is typical of the Smiths' attractive, well designed record covers.

"Sheila" is a fairly recognizable Smiths' track, probably not as familiar to most people as "Bigmouth Strikes Again" or "Ask" but moderately well known nonetheless. The track is among the few that Morrissey has continued to play occasionally into his solo career.

The song first appeared in April 1987 on Rough Trade Records in 12" and 7" formats under catalog ID RTT 196 and RT 196, respectively, and included b-sides "Is It Really So Strange?" and a Peel Sessions recording of the posthumously popular "Sweet And Tender Hooligan" (though, as was typical, the latter song was excluded from the 7" version of the single). Subsequently the song was included on the Louder Than Bombs singles collection and, later, the Smiths Best... 1 and Singles compilations. There were almost certainly CD reissues of the single in the '90s but I haven't bothered looking that information up.

And now, for your daily dose of E2 policy debate and whatnot, the inevitable lyrics:

    Is it wrong to want to live on your own?
    No, it's not wrong--but I must know
    How can someone so young
    Sing words so sad?

    Sheila take a
    Sheila take a bow
    Boot the grime of this world in the crotch, dear
    And don't go home tonight
    Come out and find the one that you love and who loves you

    Is it wrong not to always be glad?
    No, it's not wrong--but I must add
    How can someone so young
    Sing words so sad?

    Take my hand and off we stride
    You're a girl and I'm a boy
    Take my hand and off we stride
    I'm a girl and you're a boy

    Sheila take a
    Sheila take a bow
    Throw your homework into the fire
    Come out and find the one you love
    Come out and find the one that you love

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