First up is 2001’s ‘Striptease With A Difference’. Plans were initially laid for it to appear on a limited edition best of in 1997… until Lady Diana died and CD processing plants were so overloaded with ‘Candle In The Wind’ that it had to be shelved.
‘Trash’ (Live – Dallas, 1991)
“I am fascinated to discover that The Sex Pistols loathe and despise everyone on earth… except the New York Dolls.” So said Moz in Autobiography of his longtime Yank heroes. His live version of ‘Trash’, the New Yorkers’ 1973 debut single, is suitably in thrall to both bands. Here Moz is as gruff and gutsy as he’ll ever get.
‘That’s Entertainment’ (1991)
Ignore Morrissey’s declaration that this b-side was “completely worthless” – it’s not. Shorn of all the overt moroseness of Weller’s Jam classic, he turns it from a pent-up call to arms into something more beatific. The track reportedly features Vic Reeves – new drinking buddy of Moz around the time – on backing vocals, alongside Chas Smash from Madness.
‘Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness’ (Duet with Sandie Shaw, 1988)
One of Morrissey’s all time great unreleased gems, ‘…Loneliness’ could have slotted right into place on The Smiths’ ‘Strangeways Here We Come’ album. There are three versions to check – Moz’s solo demo, Sandie Shaw’s single and a combination of the two, but it’s the latter that’s the most essential.
‘Piccadilly Palare’ (Extended Version – 1990)
Almost identical to the version that appeared as a single in 1990, this makes the cut due to the extra verse hidden away towards the end, where Moz intones about a “cold water room” he’s entrenched in. Years later, a young Pete Doherty was listening, guitar in hand, when he wrote The Libertines’ b-side ‘Dilly Boys’ in homage.
‘Let Me Kiss You'(Nancy Sinatra version – 2004)
Curious that Nancy Sinatra’s version of this ‘You Are The Quarry’ track fared so poorly upon its release. Both songs came out as singles on the same day, with Moz’s butch original making Number 8, while Nancy’s version – replete with stellar, Smithsian guitar work only managed Number 46. Shame: Moz’s input make it one of his great duets.
‘Subway Train’ / ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’ (Sweden, 2004)
There are loads of versions of this, which sees Morrissey sing New York Dolls’ ode to their hometown at the start of ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’, but we’re plumping for this 2004 version recorded in Sweden. “Last night in London I saw the New York Dolls who, I warn you, are… spectacular,” he brims at the start. Brash and anthemic.
‘My Insatiable One’ (Switzerland, 1992)
“He’ll never forgive God for not making him Angie Bowie,” was Morrissey’s acerbic put-down of Suede’s Brett Anderson, just a few months after he’d covered the Britpop newcomers’ sleaziest song live. ‘My Insatiable One’ was only released as a b-side; Moz had apparently seen the young band playing around Camden around the time they signed.
I Know Very Well How I Got My Note Wrong (1989)
Featuring Vini Reilly of cult Factory Records heroes Durutti Column, it’s around the 90 second mark when Vini hits a bum note and both collapse into fits of laughter. “I just wanted people to know that Morrissey is human and not a primadona,” he remarked years later about its release. “The whole session was like that – fits of giggling.”
‘Moon River’ (1994)
The B-side to Morrissey’s lowest charting single ever at its time of release (‘Now My Heart Is Full’), his cover of the Breakfast At Tiffany’s classic is drenched in rainy Mancunian splendour. Best of all is the nine minute extended version, featuring a swirling outro that has clips of BBC sound effects of a woman crying while Moz’s voice gets ever more distant.
‘A Swallow On My Neck’ (1995)
Rumoured to have been written about Moz’s sometime companion Jake Walters, who had a liking for fake tattoos, ‘…Swallow’ was originally as a b-side to ‘Sunny’. Despite that track being one of his strongest singles of the mid 90s, the single limped to Number 42 in the charts, denying the b-side its rightful place as one of his most affecting, clever songs.
Alain Whyte, ‘Not Bitter But Bored’ (2006)
Ever wondered where ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ came from? Moz co-writer Alain Whyte has the answer, having played in Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams in the late 90s. Written by Whyte, the music is pretty much an exact duplicate of what had become Morrissey’s comeback single a few years before. Moz’s version wins hands down.
‘Cosmic Dancer’ (1991)
It would be easy to go for the live version Morrissey sung with David Bowie here, which is widely seen as one godlike outsider handing over the reigns to the young pretender. But instead, we’re plumping for the studio version of the T Rex track because quality-wise it aces the live version in every single way. Rarely has such a cocksure song sounded so lovelorn.
‘Melanie’ (Fake tune – 1995)
A bit of an anomaly, this: it’s not by Morrissey at all. There are numerous ‘fake’ Moz songs doing the rounds. ‘Melanie’ was such a good representation of his mid 90s output that even radio started to pick it up, playing it believing it to be a either long lost classic by him or a new single. In actual fact, the track was recorded by Dutch act The Boys.