Morrissey denies rumours of songs written about James, Geoff Travis and Cathal Smyth


Morrissey has denied a series of rumours claiming that three of his songs were written about James, Geoff Travis and Cathal Smyth.

The rumour mill has been awash with Morrissey claims for years. One such rumour is how ‘We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful’, the first single from his 1992 album ‘Your Arsenal’, was written about ‘Sit Down’ hitmakers James.

James lead singer Tim Booth even previously stated in a 2019 Q Magazine interview that the song is about the success James had as a fellow Manchester band.


Another Morrissey solo song, ‘You’re The One For Me, Fatty’, was believed to be about friend Cathal Smyth, aka Chas Smith, former member of Madness, with Spin even noting it in an article about Morrissey’s best songs in 2017.

A third song, The Smiths’ ‘Frankly, Mr. Shankly’, which appeared on the band’s 1986 album ‘The Queen Is Dead’, was said to be about Geoff Travis, the head of The Smiths’ record label Rough Trade.

Travis acknowledged in an interview with Mojo (via Far Out Magazine) in April 2011 that a line in the song about “bloody awful poetry” was a reference to a poem he had written for Morrissey.


Morrissey has now debunked all of these claims in a new post titled “Wrong” on his Morrissey Central website.

“‘We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful’ wasn’t written about the band James, ‘You’re The One For Me, Fatty’ wasn’t ever about Cathal Smyth, and ‘Frankly, Mr Shankly’ is not about Geoff Travis. Who decided that they were?” he wrote yesterday (June 8).

Meanwhile, Morrissey has detailed a new album, which he calls “the best album of my life”.

‘Bonfire Of Teenagers’, the Smiths singer’s first since leaving his label deal with BMG, will be sold to the highest record label bidder.

Announced via the singer’s website, ‘Bonfire Of Teenagers’ has 11 tracks, and was recently completed in Los Angeles. No release date has yet been announced.

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