Three Way: The Smiths – The Boy With Thorn In His Side
The Smiths “The Boy With Thorn In His Side” has been covered, but who did it best.
by Walter Price
In 1986 and you enjoyed a crisp turned up collar on your Polo shirt, you probably loved you some Janet Jackson, Huey Lewis, WHAM!, or even a bit of Eddie Money. You were so sweet back then. But, if you liked your pop a bit more melancholy, and cerebral then there was a band that rocked your soul more than any other. That band was The Smiths and their landmark cassette, The Queen Is Dead, was your best friend.
An album full of jangly guitars, and mystery-laden lyrics that held you spellbound. “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”, “Frankly, Mr. Shankly”, “Bigmouth Strikes Again” still intrigue, but one track made you twitch with eager anticipation each and every time you flipped that tape over. That beautiful gem is, “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side”.
As you stood before your mirror swaying your best Morrissey swagger, you conjured up thoughts on how no one, no one at all understood you. But the Moz did, he was singing the words of your mostly self-inflected loneliness. But what was the song really about, as if you cared at the time. But Morrissey had an explanation.
Speaking to British TV/radio presenter Margi Clarke he said this about track 7, “The ‘thorn’ is the music industry and all those people who would never believed anything I said, tried to get rid of me and wouldn’t play the records. So I think we’ve reached a stage where we feel: if they don’t believe me now, will they ever believe me? What more can a poor boy do?”. VIDEO (the full interview)
Well, The Smith’s frontman has always had strong feelings for the ‘industry’. But do not worry, the song can mean to you what ever it is you feel appropriate. But interpretations may and often do vary. Let’s check three ways three different artists reimagined this most beloved Smiths classic.
Belle & Sebastian (live)
BONUS SHAKE THAT THANG VERSION
Super Furry Animals
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