06 Feb 06 ·: Am I the only one who thinks this song is about Ian Curtis and Factory Records? Think about it. Morrissey would have certainly gone to JD shows in the late 70's. Reportedly, he was at the 4 June 1976 Pistols show at Lesser Free Trade Hall. Clearly, Moz and the Smiths rejected Factory Records when their time came about to find a label. Maybe, Moz was not only disgusted with Factory's obsession with repackageing JD material into new releases, but perhaps Moz had a romantic eye for Curtis. Perhaps, they touched "at the soundcheck." And though somewhat morbid, he sang about never tainting his love for Curtis because Curtis was "on their hands a dead star."
07 Feb 06 ·: I wouldn't have thought it was the case, it must have been 20 years before factory compiled Joy Divisions stuff. When he died they bought out the scheduled releases: "love will tear us apart", "Closer" and then I think it was a few years before "Still" appeared. They got on pretty quickly with developing new Order IIRC, it couldn't have been that long before "ceremony" appeared.
I'm not Tony Wilsons biggest fan, but I think Factory did a pretty good job of handling Curtis' suicide. And they weren't really that popular anyway, at that time.
Now, the frenzy that marked John Lennons death. That was something else.
07 Feb 06 ·: Paint a Vulgar Picture was 1987, long after Factory, and the remainder of JD had moved on to New Order. By that time, NO had released numerous 12" singles and LP's all the way through FAC 150, Brotherhood. For the record, FAC 37 was a video release called Here Are The Young Men of JD in Aug '82, FAC 40 is the JD compilation Still released in Oct '81, and NO's first release Ceremony is FAC 33 in Jan '81. There are also many JD appearances on various Factory Records compilations, both LP and video. All of this, of course, going on long before Moz, Marr, Rourke, and Joyce ever were together as the Smiths. One final thought, and please excuse the macabre, listen very closely to the last line of lyric in Vulgar, there is a distinct, but obvious choking sound just after the last word. If Moz hadn't made a career of singing about the "romantic" side of death, suicide, et. al. I would dismiss it as just a gutteral noise, but...
08 Feb 06 ·: I bow to your superior research.
And wince to your final thought!
27 Mar 11 ·: I just tonight thought for the first time about who the song might be about (bizarre, since it's one of my favorite songs) and the first person I came up with was Ian Curtis. This story is old (I know) but it goes on...
27 Mar 11 ·: The new Smiths bootleg "Unreleased Demos and B-sides" has a great rendition of this song with slightly different lyrics. Grab a copy of you have the chance.
28 Mar 11 ·: It has literally never occurred to me that this could be who it's about. I guess it's possible but it just seems wrong to me somehow. And I don't remember any tacky badges on Factory releases (unless I missed them). Interesting bootleg for sure...