Dennis Herring (producer) / Twitter - Extraordinary story about the Smiths' songwriting and recording

This is something I've never heard before. The story is told on Twitter by Dennis Herring, who produced Modest Mouse.

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Carlisle baz

Cock of the north
Except by Johnny's own admission, he wasn't miserable until the last few months. He even said, "I was three feet off the ground the whole time." He contradicts himself endlessly, which I think is because a) he's had 30 years of being pressured to 'justify' leaving and b) the ongoing estrangement from Morrissey increases his defensiveness.

There is almost a pattern to Johnny's responses. I get the sense that when things are going well or they've had a 'Cheshire pub meet', he talks happily about The Smiths as an amazing time (look up the Paul Morley interview on YouTube from 2009). When they're not talking / he feels that he's being 'ghosted' or whatever, he talks about an "I Told You I Was Right" tour, sings "Now I know how Johnny Marr felt" and thanks every other singer on earth at an awards ceremony, that kind of thing. And like I said before, there are people who glory in stirring this up and Johnny sometimes falls into their traps.
Seems like a fair assessment
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Except by Johnny's own admission, he wasn't miserable until the last few months. He even said, "I was three feet off the ground the whole time." He contradicts himself endlessly, which I think is because a) he's had 30 years of being pressured to 'justify' leaving and b) the ongoing estrangement from Morrissey increases his defensiveness.

There is almost a pattern to Johnny's responses. I get the sense that when things are going well or they've had a 'Cheshire pub meet', he talks happily about The Smiths as an amazing time (look up the Paul Morley interview on YouTube from 2009). When they're not talking / he feels that he's being 'ghosted' or whatever, he talks about an "I Told You I Was Right" tour, sings "Now I know how Johnny Marr felt" and thanks every other singer on earth at an awards ceremony, that kind of thing. And like I said before, there are people who glory in stirring this up and Johnny sometimes falls into their traps.

You mean he's human and subject to inconsistent whims and moods like all of us? Why are you keeping such close tabs on him? I'm not going to check up on what he said in 2008. I really think he likes to cast a positive light on all his experiences. He learns and moves on.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
You mean he's human and subject to inconsistent whims and moods like all of us? Why are you keeping such close tabs on him? I'm not going to check up on what he said in 2008. I really think he likes to cast a positive light on all his experiences. He learns and moves on.
I mean he tells different versions of things depending on his mood / whether he is being 'baited', so to speak, yes. Are you a different Anon?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
There's a Mike Joyce interview - it might have been that DVD he did with Andy Rourke - where he notes how Marr didn't quit The Smiths entirely spontaneously - "he made sure he'd bought himself a decent house, and then he quit" - something like that.
I wouldn't trust anything Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke say. That DVD had a touch of Alan Partridge comedy about it. They remind me of the 9th Marquess of Queensberry in that he was responsible for the genius Oscar Wilde's downfall. 🙁 Both trials were at the High Court the Old Bailey in London.
 
C

Christopher

Guest
"All the glory of the Smiths except lyric n melody". :rolleyes:

I have made the point many times on this site, and will continue to do so, that Morrissey created the songs of The Smiths, whilst Marr, Rourke and sometimes Porter or Street created the backing music and should have been credited as such - 'Songs by Morrissey, music by Marr/Rourke(/Porter)'.

'Panic', for example, wasn't 'Panic' until Morrissey put down his vocal.

This chum of Marr's, despite his efforts to run down Morrissey, confirms in detail how that process worked.

I'm not sure Marr will really be thanking him for that.
??? Everybody knows it was music by Marr & Roark (Johnny should’ve credited him), lyrics by Moz. “Written by Morrissey & Marr” does not imply Johnny Marr wrote lyrics for The Smiths. Plus, “songs” implies music, not just words.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
??? Everybody knows it was music by Marr & Roark (Johnny should’ve credited him), lyrics by Moz. “Written by Morrissey & Marr” does not imply Johnny Marr wrote lyrics for The Smiths. Plus, “songs” implies music, not just words.

Songs are words and vocal melody. They generally have a musical backing, but don't need one. Therefore Morrissey created the songs of The Smiths. That the 'Songs by Morrissey/Marr' credit implies otherwise is why it's misrepresentative. Marr (along with Rourke and sometimes Porter) created backing music. The backing music became a song when Morrissey added his vocal melody and lyric. When it was only backing music it could have become any song, depending on what vocal melody and lyric was added. Therefore it's Morrissey who created the song.

An obvious example of this process is 'Irish Blood, English Heart'. Whyte had previously employed the exact same backing track as the basis for a completely different song, 'Not Bitter But Bored' for a different band. I don't know if it was Whyte himself or somebody else who added the vocal melody and lyrics for the latter song. But let's say it was Whyte, for the sake of argument. You have two completely different songs with exactly the same backing music. Strip away the common element (the music) and you still have two completely different songs. Strip the vocal melodies from both and you simply have the same piece of music. Therefore the two distinct songs were created by, respectively, Morrissey ('Irish Blood, English Heart') and Whyte ('Not Bitter But Bored'). Both used the same music for inspiration, but that doesn't mean that the music is the song.

The same would have applied to the music of The Smiths. If they'd had a different lead singer, the songs we know would never have existed.

The reply will come "yes, but if they'd had a different guitarist, the songs would never have existed". True, and I don't argue that Marr was crucial to the genesis of those songs, in that the music he co-created with Rourke and sometimes Porter gave birth to them.

But the songs can stand alone without the music, as vocal melody and words sung acappella and therefore Marr should be credited for what he had a hand in creating (the music) while Morrissey should be credited for what he created (the songs).

That this argument is valid can be seen from the fact that nearly 35 years since the band broke up, we are still waiting for Marr to create songs as great as the songs of The Smiths, while Morrissey has created many such songs throughout his solo career.

A song is vocal melody and lyric. That Marr is not a great singer and writes shit lyrics is why he will never be able to create great songs. That Morrissey is a great singer and writes great lyrics is why he can still create great songs, even when the backing music has never been anywhere near as distinctive/impressive as the music of The Smiths.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Songs are words and vocal melody. They generally have a musical backing, but don't need one. Therefore Morrissey created the songs of The Smiths. That the 'Songs by Morrissey/Marr' credit implies otherwise is why it's misrepresentative. Marr (along with Rourke and sometimes Porter) created backing music. The backing music became a song when Morrissey added his vocal melody and lyric. When it was only backing music it could have become any song, depending on what vocal melody and lyric was added. Therefore it's Morrissey who created the song.

An obvious example of this process is 'Irish Blood, English Heart'. Whyte had previously employed the exact same backing track as the basis for a completely different song, 'Not Bitter But Bored' for a different band. I don't know if it was Whyte himself or somebody else who added the vocal melody and lyrics for the latter song. But let's say it was Whyte, for the sake of argument. You have two completely different songs with exactly the same backing music. Strip away the common element (the music) and you still have two completely different songs. Strip the vocal melodies from both and you simply have the same piece of music. Therefore the two distinct songs were created by, respectively, Morrissey ('Irish Blood, English Heart') and Whyte ('Not Bitter But Bored'). Both used the same music for inspiration, but that doesn't mean that the music is the song.

The same would have applied to the music of The Smiths. If they'd had a different lead singer, the songs we know would never have existed.

The reply will come "yes, but if they'd had a different guitarist, the songs would never have existed". True, and I don't argue that Marr was crucial to the genesis of those songs, in that the music he co-created with Rourke and sometimes Porter gave birth to them.

But the songs can stand alone without the music, as vocal melody and words sung acappella and therefore Marr should be credited for what he had a hand in creating (the music) while Morrissey should be credited for what he created (the songs).

That this argument is valid can be seen from the fact that nearly 35 years since the band broke up, we are still waiting for Marr to create songs as great as the songs of The Smiths, while Morrissey has created many such songs throughout his solo career.

A song is vocal melody and lyric. That Marr is not a great singer and writes shit lyrics is why he will never be able to create great songs. That Morrissey is a great singer and writes great lyrics is why he can still create great songs, even when the backing music has never been anywhere near as distinctive/impressive as the music of The Smiths.
All those words just to say you are an idiot who knows nothing about music, songwriting or the Smiths.
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
Songs are words and vocal melody. They generally have a musical backing, but don't need one.

True, BUT some also define a song without vocal as an instrumental or it also can be called a song....



So, yes, an instrumental can be called a song also.

Therefore Morrissey created the songs of The Smiths. That the 'Songs by Morrissey/Marr' credit implies otherwise is why it's misrepresentative. Marr (along with Rourke and sometimes Porter) created backing music.

No, together they created a composition, which can also be called a song. Marr, what you call a backing, gave Morrissey an instrumental/song and together they created a final composition or song.

Marr most likely called his backing/instrumental/song by a temporary title, but to Marr it is already a song. But then Morrissey
would do his thing to it, altering Marr’s original song to become a
final composition or song as they or
their listeners would know it.



The backing music became a song when Morrissey added his vocal melody and lyric. When it was only backing music it could have become any song, depending on what vocal melody and lyric was added. Therefore it's Morrissey who created the song.

An obvious example of this process is 'Irish Blood, English Heart'. Whyte had previously employed the exact same backing track as the basis for a completely different song, 'Not Bitter But Bored' for a different band. I don't know if it was Whyte himself or somebody else who added the vocal melody and lyrics for the latter song. But let's say it was Whyte, for the sake of argument. You have two completely different songs with exactly the same backing music. Strip away the common element (the music) and you still have two completely different songs. Strip the vocal melodies from both and you simply have the same piece of music. Therefore the two distinct songs were created by, respectively, Morrissey ('Irish Blood, English Heart') and Whyte ('Not Bitter But Bored'). Both used the same music for inspiration, but that doesn't mean that the music is the song.

The same would have applied to the music of The Smiths. If they'd had a different lead singer, the songs we know would never have existed.

The reply will come "yes, but if they'd had a different guitarist, the songs would never have existed". True, and I don't argue that Marr was crucial to the genesis of those songs, in that the music he co-created with Rourke and sometimes Porter gave birth to them.

But the songs can stand alone without the music, as vocal melody and words sung acappella and therefore Marr should be credited for what he had a hand in creating (the music) while Morrissey should be credited for what he created (the songs).

That this argument is valid can be seen from the fact that nearly 35 years since the band broke up, we are still waiting for Marr to create songs as great as the songs of The Smiths, while Morrissey has created many such songs throughout his solo career.

Marr’s songs may not be ‘great’ but they are still called songs.
A song is vocal melody and lyric.

And a instrumental can also be called a song.
That Marr is not a great singer and writes shit lyrics is why he will never be able to create great songs.
True, but so what. He still writes songs be it vocal or instrumental.
That Morrissey is a great singer and writes great lyrics is why he can still create great songs, even when the backing music has never been anywhere near as distinctive/impressive as the music of The Smiths.
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
??? Everybody knows it was music by Marr & Roark (Johnny should’ve credited him), lyrics by Moz. “Written by Morrissey & Marr” does not imply Johnny Marr wrote lyrics for The Smiths.

Yes Andy should have gotten more credit at least. But take for example session musicians that can write a great hook or alter the song that they’re getting paid to play on and it may become a hit because of their contribution, and yet, usually they don’t get a writing credit, maybe never(?) I’m sure there must have been exceptions, but I don’t think it’s the norm.

Plus, “songs” implies music, not just words.

True.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
True, BUT some also define a song without vocal as an instrumental or it also can be called a song....



So, yes, an instrumental can be called a song also.



No, together they created a composition, which can also be called a song. Marr, what you call a backing, gave Morrissey an instrumental/song and together they created a final composition or song.

Marr most likely called his backing/instrumental/song by a temporary title, but to Marr it is already a song. But then Morrissey
would do his thing to it, altering Marr’s original song to become a
final composition or song as they or
their listeners would know it.





Marr’s songs may not be ‘great’ but they are still called songs.


And a instrumental can also be called a song.

True, but so what. He still writes songs be it vocal or instrumental.

I appreciate all this - that instrumentals are regarded as songs by some people, I'm not disputing that, I'm just saying they shouldn't be. And not just for the sake of it, for a reason. The reason being that it is blatantly obvious after the course of some 35 years that Morrissey can create decent songs and Marr can't. Sure, I don't dispute that Marr is now a songwriter, because he adds vocal melodies and lyrics to his instrumentals, so therefore he now creates his own songs. They're generally rubbish, but I don't dispute that they're songs. But the part of the creative process that made them songs was the addition of his vocal melodies and lyrics. Before that they were just instrumentals.

Sure, people can - and do - refer to instrumentals as 'songs' - but why do so? Why not just refer to them as 'instrumentals'?

The clue is in the word. 'Song' fairly evidently has the same etymological roots as the verb 'to sing'. It relates to the voice, and to words.

The tapes that Marr gave to Morrissey were instrumentals. Morrissey used these to create his songs. To say that Marr co-created these songs because he composed the music is, I feel, a misconception. Marr created the music. Morrissey created the song, using the music. When he went solo, Morrissey continued to create songs, using other people's music: the generally wasn't as good as Marr's music for The Smiths, but the songs have often been as good as the songs of The Smiths. Morrissey has demonstrated that he doesn't actually need great music to produce great songs. And that the songs are great (e.g. 'First of the Gang to Die') despite the music being... not rubbish at all (not in that instance anyway) but not on a par with what Marr created for The Smiths, shows that the songs are independent of the music: they can be evaluated and appraised independently of the music.

You feel, I think, that I'm denying Marr a role in the creative process of The Smiths. I'm not. He co-created the music. It was beautiful, remarkable, great music. But that still doesn't entitle him to say that he 'co-wrote', say, 'Bigmouth Strikes Again'.

The Smiths' songs are great songs. If Marr had co-written the songs it would logically suggest he's a great songwriter. So why has he never written any great songs? Because songs aren't music - they're vocal melodies and words set to music. And Marr can't create great vocal melodies and words. These days, he's a songwriter - but a poor one. Back in the days of The Smiths, he didn't 'co-write' songs, he just composed music.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Yes Andy should have gotten more credit at least. But take for example session musicians that can write a great hook or alter the song that they’re getting paid to play on and it may become a hit because of their contribution, and yet, usually they don’t get a writing credit, maybe never(?) I’m sure there must have been exceptions, but I don’t think it’s the norm.



True.

Clearly some records become hits because of the music, not what I would call 'the song' (vocal melody and words). But if records were credited as I feel they should be - with separate credits for the 'song' (vocal melody/words) and for the music, then publishing royalties would be separately accorded. So if somebody had written a great hook, their creative role in the creation of the record would be acknowledged (beyond what they earnt as musicians).

So, for example, 'This Charming Man'.

Royalties would be split between the songwriter (Morrissey) and the musical composers (Marr/Rourke/Porter in this instance I would reckon).

Morrissey being the songwriter because he created the vocal melody and words. If you sing the song a cappella that's all it is.

Marr, Rourke and Porter would all have had a financial share of royalties for the music. I add Porter in this case because I have a memory of an interview with him - or it may even have been Marr - talking about how he stitched together bits of riffs and music that Johnny had. Rourke would get a credit for his incredibly distinctive and melodic bass part, which really holds the music together.

In the case of a song like 'Ticket to Ride', as another example, Lennon would have been credited with the song, but Harrison would have gotten royalties and a musical composer credit for the arpeggio riff.
 
V

Vegan Cro Spirit .777

Guest
o_O

chances of a :handpointright::guardsman::handpointleft: song with no lyrics becoming a hit 0%
chances of a :handpointright::guardsman::handpointleft: song with lyrics becoming a hit negative a billion %

🇭🇷>:hammer:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Clearly some records become hits because of the music, not what I would call 'the song' (vocal melody and words). But if records were credited as I feel they should be - with separate credits for the 'song' (vocal melody/words) and for the music, then publishing royalties would be separately accorded. So if somebody had written a great hook, their creative role in the creation of the record would be acknowledged (beyond what they earnt as musicians).

So, for example, 'This Charming Man'.

Royalties would be split between the songwriter (Morrissey) and the musical composers (Marr/Rourke/Porter in this instance I would reckon).

Morrissey being the songwriter because he created the vocal melody and words. If you sing the song a cappella that's all it is.

Marr, Rourke and Porter would all have had a financial share of royalties for the music. I add Porter in this case because I have a memory of an interview with him - or it may even have been Marr - talking about how he stitched together bits of riffs and music that Johnny had. Rourke would get a credit for his incredibly distinctive and melodic bass part, which really holds the music together.

In the case of a song like 'Ticket to Ride', as another example, Lennon would have been credited with the song, but Harrison would have gotten royalties and a musical composer credit for the arpeggio riff.

Please stop, your ignorance is overwhelming.
 
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