THE QUEEN IS DEAD: 30 Years Later

The_Smiths_Pic_1311243720
Wait, that doesn’t look like the queen.  Yes, the subtlety was lost on me when I was 18.

Amazingly, THE QUEEN IS DEAD came out thirty years ago today.  For me, it was that magical time between graduating from high school and heading off to the University of Notre Dame.  I spent that summer of 1986 dreaming of college, working as an overnight DJ at a local radio station, and rather madly chasing around a young woman (who is now, thankfully, happily married and living in central Kansas).

 

Strangely, though, THE QUEEN IS DEAD did not inspire or trouble me once that summer.  For whatever reason, I completely missed its release.

It wasn’t until I arrived at Notre Dame that a great friend (and now an extremely famous philosopher) introduced me to THE QUEEN IS DEAD.  From the first listen, I was bowled over.  Being rather partial to prog rock, I didn’t cotton easily to non-progressive music.  Yet, there was something in THE QUEEN IS DEAD that captured my imagination.  There was a wit, a whiny intelligence, a reference to some of my favorite writers, and a strange cynical romanticism that pervades the whole album that tugged at my soul.

With Morrissey, I wanted to walk the cemetery gates, and I knew that there was a “light that never goes out” when it came to that Kansas girl I chased for almost two years.

I felt sorry for the Queen and for Prince Charles, of course, but I chuckled about the vicar, and I thought I knew a Bigmouth, here or there.

Thirty years ago.  Amazing.  It could’ve been yesterday.