I'm on a little bit of a Smith/Morrissey kick at the moment. I first got into them around October 2011, simply because I was following so many Brits on Twitter, who seemed to think that this band was just the bee's knees. I had to investigate for myself, and when I did, I deemed them nothing short of awesome, if something of an acquired taste. What followed was several weeks of flipping between watching six seasons of Doctor Who and listening to 'The Very Best of The Smiths' whilst drinking my tea. Proving, once again, that I was born to be British.
Fast-forward to July 2013, when I find myself in a tent at T in the Park in Scotland, beholding none other than former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr belt out his solo work in front of my face. We're also treated to a few Smiths classics, including 'There is a Light The Never Goes Out', 'Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before' and the impossibly brilliant 'How Soon Is Now?'. It is during this performance that I make friends with none other than Ted Sablay of The Killers, who tells me all about Marr and Bernard Sumner (of Joy Division and New Order) and Las Vegas. Instant besties. And cue tiny Smiths obsession. Who cares if they were popular when my mother was my age? Truly good music is timeless.
Moz himself released an autobiography towards the end of last year, and it took about two months for the thing to actually be released in SA - and another two for me to read the thing to completion - but I'm almost at the end, and my love for his music grows more and more every day. Although loathed by some (for being too outspoken? For fears that his seemingly outrageous statements are actually frighteningly true?) Morrissey and co are admired by many musicians, and have been covered time and time again. So here's my list of Top 5 Artists Who Covered The Smiths.
1) Noel Gallagher: To be honest, I'm just putting this on the list because I like Oasis and I like The Smiths and yayyyy 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out'.
2) Coldplay: On a dark, grim morning on my way to work (at 3am, no less), my iPod played quietly through my car radio, and when I stopped at a robot, I heard the sweet sounds of Chris Martin's voice serenading me. But... huh... why did it sound like he was singing a song that I'd heard live not two months before? I hadn't been to any Coldplay concerts recently, but... "stop me, oh oh oh stop me, stop me if you think that you've heard this one before..." Hold up, Coldplay covered The Smiths? Yes, they did, and they performed it live with Oasis. You're welcome.
3) The Killers: okay, it's a Morrissey cover, but it definitely still counts. 'Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself' was some kind of special, limited edition B-side from the Hot Fuss days. After not paying much attention to it for my 4+ years of Killers obsession, it came on shuffle on my iPod one day, and I decided that I really quite liked it. I felt like singing along, so I googled the words and my mind was blown when I found out that it was originally by Morrissey.
2) Death Cab For Cutie: Although they got the words wrong, Ben Gibbard and his mates did a pretty interesting cover of 'This Charming Man'. I first heard it in my pre-Smiths days, leading me to believe the the lyrics were about being "on two bicycles", and being "just a country boy". But just like Leona Lewis's 'Run' (originally by Snow Patrol), I felt like the song was missing something, and a little bit of digging revealed the original, which is, of course, far better.
1) Love Spit Love: never heard of them? Neither had I (I just googled them, they were founded by the lead singer of the Psychedelic Furs and now I feel stupid), but I had been singing along to their version of 'How Soon Is Now?' for years upon years. The band recorded a cover of the song for the film 'The Craft', and it was later used as the theme song for the TV series 'Charmed', which I was a huge fan of. Too bad pre-teen me had the words down as "I am the sun... and the air...". Sigh.