Shut Your Mouth Three-Way: The Smiths – “How Soon Is Now?”
Shut your mouth, “How Soon Is Now?” is available on iTunes.
by Walter Price
Back in 1985, you weren’t totally mentally satisfied with your favorite pop radio station’s proclivity of playing redundant tracks by A-Ha, Tears For Fears, Madonna, and Phil Collins. No, you had an insatiable shyness that needed to be understood. An inner angst that needed to be soundtracked and there was only one band that had the powers. That band was called The Smiths and their song that chronicled that crippling social isolation was titled “How Soon Is Now?”.
You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does
You know the words by heart, and after all these years you know what is coming from that opening Marr guitar riff. It takes you back and keeps you current. “How Soon Is Now?” is still one of the most important songs of your life and the band knew what they were doing when they recorded this famed ode to loneliness. But you and I aren’t the only ones mesmerized by this track, Jeff Buckley once remembered, “The first time I heard ‘How Soon Is Now,’ I can remember things changing in myself. It was 1984, in my friend’s apartment in this really horrible building in Hollywood. We were there eating some sort of horrible food, with ketchup ’cause we didn’t have any money, and it came on the television. The video was great, but the song completely blew everything away. It was the first time I ever heard writing like that over music like that. It influenced me because the writing was so great because Morrissey’s lyrics were so great in such a way, I don’t know, like just completely freaky, unique.”, :
Buckley may have thought the video was okay but Morrissey had other thoughts. The band’s charismatic frontman once told Creem magazine, “It had absolutely nothing to do with The Smiths. Quite naturally we were swamped with letters from very distressed American friends saying, ‘Why on earth did you make this foul video?’ And of course it must be understood that Sire made that video, and we saw the video and we said to Sire, ‘You can’t possibly release this… this degrading video.’ And they said, ‘Well, maybe you shouldn’t really be on our label.’ It was quite disastrous.”
Well, in the end, The Smiths ended disastrously. But we still have the songs, memories, and sentiments. And to further the effect The Smiths and their hallowed song “How Soon Is Now?” had in the world, I have curated three ways the track has been interpreted over the years.
SHUT YOUR MOUTH
the smiths / morrissey / johnny marr
Love Spit Love
Snake River Conspiracy
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