"The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" was first released in September 1985 on a 12" single, b/w "Rubber Ring" and "Asleep", and then later in June 1986 on The Queen Is Dead Lp. Why care? Because the 12" single version was different. For the album, they added a string section and pushed back the guitars to make room for it in the mix. The song lost a lot of its punch. I don't mind having both versions, but I really hope they've reissued the 12" single version on one of their army of greatest hits cash-ins. It just stomps the album version.

The "cover star" on the 12" is identified in the credits only as "Truman". In fact, it's a Cecil Beaton photograph of Truman Capote in his early twenties, looking about fifteen. I never made the connection until I saw the photo elsewhere, because I grew up in the 1970s and my image of Capote is a dazed, dissipated, jowly little man wearing dark glasses and looking much like the Mole in the old Pogo comic strip. There's just no resemblance at all. What a shame, and what a terrible waste of talent.

The lyric is mostly a horrifying example Morrissey's bad judgment, but here it is anyway. Yes, the cringeworthy capitalization in the second verse ("Love", "Live") is right off the lyric sheet. Sorry about that. These things always sound a lot less idiotic when sung, in their natural environment. Morrissey always had a knack for concealing his flaws behind virtues. Hell, that's what rock'n'roll is all about.


The boy with the thorn in his side
behind the hatred there lies
a murderous desire for love
how can they look into my eyes
and still they don't believe me
how can they hear me say those words
and still they don't believe me
and if they don't believe me now
will they ever believe me?
and if they don't believe me now
will they ever believe me?

The boy with the thorn in his side
behind the hatred there lies
a plundering desire for love
how can they see the Love in our eyes
and still they don't believe us
and after all this time
they don't want to believe us
and if they don't believe us now
will they ever believe us?
and when you want to Live
how do you start?

where do you go?
who do you need to know?



The discographical data are from http://www.compsoc.man.ac.uk/~moz/pjlm/smit-d.htm; the wording is mine.

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