The first-ever demo by The Smiths has surfaced online after the 1982 recording was placed on YouTube, apparently by their original bassist.
Snippets of ‘I Want A Boy For My Birthday’ had circulated among the band’s fan community for several years. But the version seemingly posted by early bassist Dale Hibbert is the first time the full three-minute version has been heard.
‘I Want A Boy For My Birthday’ is a cover of ’60s girl group The Cookies, who released their original version as a B-side in 1963.
Morrissey and Johnny Marr made their version in 1982 on Marr’s TEAC tape recorder so that Hibbert could learn it for the band’s first official demo recordings.
Hibbert left the band after The Smiths’ first gig as Morrissey and Marr were unhappy with his playing. He was replaced by Andy Rourke, who became the band’s permanent bassist.
The existence of the demo was only uncovered in 2013 in Simon Goddard’s Smiths biography Songs That Saved Your Life. Marr said in the book: “I’d never heard the song before, but I thought ‘Great, this will freak them out!’ I was really happy to encourage it.”
Hibbert left the music industry after The Smiths. He went on to run a bar in Manchester and now runs a vegetarian café, Kava, in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, with his wife Svet.
The leaking of the demo comes as Morrissey prepares to release his new album ‘I Am Not A Dog On A Chain’ in March. Marr recently released ‘Single Life’, a box set which compiles the ten 7″ singles he’s released as a solo artist.