The Smiths - The World Won't Listen

NME.COM feature on The Smiths - The World Won't Listen album including album review, artwork, tracks, listen now, tour dates, discography and more.

Release date: 17 November 1998

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The Smiths - The World Won't Listen: Wikipedia Album Entry

The World Won't Listen is a compilation album by The Smiths. It was released in February 1987 by their record company, Rough Trade Records, and reached #2 on the British charts.

The album was conceived as a collection of the singles and their B-sides from 1985 and 1986. Additionally, the scrapped single "You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby" (which was passed over for "Shoplifters of the World Unite") and the near-single "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" (a single candidate from The Queen is Dead that was passed over in favour of "Bigmouth Strikes Again") were included.

The title reflects Morrissey's frustration with the fact that mainstream radio and record buyers still weren't paying attention to the band. As the album included many non-album cuts and single versions, it remains a fan favourite. The music press was critical, however, labelling the album "inessential."

The compilation was rendered largely superfluous only three months after its release when Rough Trade decided to release the similar but extended US-intended compilation Louder Than Bombs domestically. This was primarily done to save the consumer from paying ridiculous import prices. However, The World Won't Listen has some songs (or different versions of songs) that do not appear on Louder Than Bombs: "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side", "Stretch Out and Wait" (different version), "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore", and "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" (different version).

After WEA acquired the Smiths back catalogue in 1992, all Smiths albums were re-released at mid price, including The World Won't Listen, which was expanded to include a cover of "Golden Lights" and the original Rough Trade cassette edition bonus track "Money Changes Everything" (another track exclusive to this compilation, though it was later released on the deluxe edition of The Sound of The Smiths).

Cover

The CD sleeve for The World Won't Listen is based on the cassette version of the sleeve layout; the original album featured a larger picture of a Fifties fairground scene, of which this is a crop. The sleeve was designed by Morrissey, using a photo by Jurgen Vollmer from the book Rock 'N' Roll Times: The Style and Spirit of the Early Beatles and Their First Fans.

Track listing
"Panic" - 2:21 [single a-side]
"Ask" - 3:15 [single a-side]
"London" - 2:07 [b-side of "Shoplifters of the World Unite"]
"Bigmouth Strikes Again" - 3:13 [from The Queen Is Dead]
"Shakespeare's Sister" - 2:08 [single a-side]
"There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" - 4:05 [from The Queen Is Dead]
"Shoplifters of the World Unite" - 2:58 [single a-side]
"The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" (single version) - 3:16 [single a-side]
"Asleep" - 4:10 [b-side of "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side"]
"Unloveable" - 3:56 [b-side of "Bigmouth Strikes Again"]
"Half a Person" - 3:36 [b-side of "Shoplifters of the World Unite"]
"Stretch Out and Wait" (alternate vocal) - 2:45 [original on "Shakespeare's Sister" single]
"That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" (single version) * - 3:49 [original on single a-side]
"Oscillate Wildly" - 3:26 [b-side of "How Soon Is Now?"]
"You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" (UK mix) - 3:32
"Rubber Ring" - 3:48 [b-side of "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side"]
"Golden Lights" - 2:41 [b-side of "Ask"] [Only On WEA Reissue CD]
Tracks marked "*" are exclusive to this compilation.
All tracks written by Morrissey and Johnny Marr (including "Money Changes Everything"), except "Golden Lights," written by Twinkle.
"Money Changes Everything" was used by Marr while playing guitar for Bryan Ferry on his "Bête Noire" album. The track is almost an identical blueprint for the song "The Right Stuff," which is credited to Bryan Ferry and Johnny Marr.
The alternate vocal take of "Stretch Out and Wait" is slightly different from the one that was first released in March of 1985 and widely available on the American Louder than Bombs compilation. It has a re-recorded vocal with some melodic variations throughout and lyrical variations in the first verse. It also has an extended ending.
This alternate mix of "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" is approximately nine seconds longer than the mix that appears on Louder Than Bombs and features some other minor mixing differences.

Musicassette

Same as LP plus "Money Changes Everything"* - 4:43 [b-side of "Bigmouth Strikes Again"] slotted in as track #9

Compact disc

Rough Trade original issue: same as LP. WEA re-issue: same as musicassette plus "Golden Lights" - 2:40 [b-side of "Ask"] at the end as track #18.

Personnel

Band
Morrissey – vocals
Johnny Marr – guitars, keyboard instruments, bass guitar on "Golden Lights"
Andy Rourke – bass guitar, cello on "Shakespeare's Sister" and "Oscillate Wildly"
Mike Joyce – drums
Craig Gannon – guitar on "Panic", "Ask", "London", "Half a Person", "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" and "Golden Lights"

Additional musicians
Kirsty MacColl – backing vocals on "Ask" and "Golden Lights"
John Porter – drum machine on "Golden Lights"
Stephen Street – additional drum machine programming on "London"

Technical staff
Johnny Marr – producer (A7)
Johnny Marr, Morrissey and Stephen Street – producers (A3, B3)
Morrissey and Marr – producers (A4, A6, B1-2, B8)
John Porter – producer (A1-2, A9, B7, B9)
The Smiths – producers (A5, A8, B4-6)


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