Morrissey A-Z: "Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together"

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
The quote is cited in a 2002 Mojo article about Viva Hate. I've never been able to find the original interview it was taken from, so I'm not sure when he is supposed to have said it. I've seen 1992 floating around as a possible year, but no precise source.

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Very kind of him to send some words of encouragement and consolation and empathy to Johnny.

It's hard to think about Johnny when listening to the song nowadays, it could be for any artist who feels abused and sucked out by the music industry and finds himself or herself at the verge of a breakdown. Think Jobriath, Kurt Cobain, so many others... The words are still very relevant and expression of empathy.

And of course, the angel has to come with wings, sorry, strings. It was the only time that Morrissey was backed by a string quartet only. It is another illustration of how hard Morrissey & co were tinkering with new soundscapes. I love Viva Hate: it was rich in musical ideas with many great lyrics.
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
Maybe it reminds me of Kate???

Yes, he did change his mind but I can't remember where I read it.

Kate's extremely middle-class but she also had his split attitude to England & Ireland. It caused a spectacular fight on Facebook once. Among Scottish people. 🙃 Also took a lot of her inspiration from books & films.



Yes.

I can't recall him mentioning her again, but her work is very similar to his in some respects.
And looking at some of the female singers he's loved and *ahem* championed over the years it's hard to believe that her wonderful voice bothered him/still bothers him...
Probably me, mentioned here before. Was chatting with him in 2005, the topic of Kate Bush came up, I laughed and said to him that I thought he hated her, and he said no, he never said that, and then he asked me if I know her song “Army Dreamers”? I said of course I do, he said he liked that one.


the subject matter makes one imagine he may of had it in mind when writing I Bury The Living.

Funny this thread came up. I was thinking about what Street said about (Cloudbusting?) Kate Bush being an influence as I was listening
to Eleanor Rigby, I also wondered if it’s string arrangements may of had some influence on Kate....


Anyway, AADWGT is an amazing song, but all the songs on Viva Hate are.

:cool:
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
Interesting that this was the only song that Morrissey admitted was written about Johnny...

Anyhow, I think it's a very strong song from a very strong album. I think two of the biggest pluses regarding Viva Hate are the variety of musical styles and the differing lengths of the songs. The inclusion of an epic like Late Night, Maudlin Street meant that there was no pressure to lengthen any other tracks, and these two songs together make for a great one-two punch.

Mature lyrics, a fine tune and an excellent vocal.

Not that this is of any great importance, of course, but when there was a discussion on another board a little while ago, this song came in at 51 from all of the solo tracks.

And just for your jottings, the other songs that we have covered so far ranked:

Action is My Middle Name - 171
All the Lazy Dykes - 226
All the Young People Must Fall in Love - 230
All You Need is Me - 93
Alma Matters - 73
Alsatian Cousin - 42
Ambitious Outsiders - 237
America is Not the World - 167
Ammunition - 177

maybe because it is.


:cool:
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
Probably me, mentioned here before. Was chatting with him in 2005, the topic of Kate Bush came up, I laughed and said to him that I thought he hated her, and he said no, he never said that, and then he asked me if I know her song “Army Dreamers”? I said of course I do, he said he liked that one.


the subject matter makes one imagine he may of had it in mind when writing I Bury The Living.

Funny this thread came up. I was thinking about what Street said about (Cloudbusting?) Kate Bush being an influence as I was listening
to Eleanor Rigby, I also wondered if it’s string arrangements may of had some influence on Kate....


Anyway, AADWGT is an amazing song, but all the songs on Viva Hate are.

:cool:
That's a very nice story and good to hear. I've been wondering about it for ages.
Where did you meet him?
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
I'd actually believe that if it weren't for Billy Budd. Maybe that one slipped his mind during the interview.
Or maybe he was just lying. It's very useful.


Or, if the sources in the Mojo article are correct, Billy Budd wasn't written yet, because the interview in question was either in 1988, 1990 or 1992.
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
Or maybe he was just lying. It's very useful.


Or, if the sources in the Mojo article are correct, Billy Budd wasn't written yet, because the interview in question was either in 1988, 1990 or 1992.
Ah thanks, thought the interview happened more recently than that. Case closed!
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I'd actually believe that if it weren't for Billy Budd. Maybe that one slipped his mind during the interview.
Think the interview was in '92 - before Billy Budd.
 
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Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I love the tone and sincerity of his voice here and it is a wonderful song that has held up well. Some people have said that it seems a surprising theme (the idea of Johnny being suicidal or pushed around in the music industry after the split) - but I think it aligns well with Morrissey's general attitude to Marr's sessioning and his vision of other artists using/exploiting Johnny for his abilities in Autobio.

(Regarding Bryan Ferry) "When the Bryan Ferry single finally emerges, Johnny is there in the video looking lost, minus only a pair of slaves' sandals. He is evidently only important for the gifts that he brings to the sherry-fed Ferry, who stumbles up to the spotlight as if direct from a pink gin all-nighter in Redcliffe Square. Johnny, I hardly knew ye."

(Regarding David Bowie): "David Bowie, who feeds on the blood of living mammals, rises like Christopher Lee to present a bouquet of flowers to Johnny. But Johnny is not taken in."

(Regarding The Pretenders) - "If I had felt that the Smiths' demise left me on the scaffold, then Johnny surely felt the same. He quickly joins the Pretenders and is just as quickly 'asked to leave'."

For me, his depiction of Johnny as someone who was basically 'used and abused' as a session player fits in with the 'Angel, Angel' lyrics about being used and broken, "They take and they take in turn / and give you nothing real for yourself in return" etc and someone having their shell 'cast aside'. He has frequently spoken about Johnny's other collaborators in those kinds of terms and he said (in 2002) that he imagined Johnny's post-Smiths wanderings to be temporary, at the time. As for being ultimately wrong about it - I can see that because Johnny remained sessioning for a long time, he wasn't just choosing out of desperation. Things got better for them both.
 
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Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye - is a song about a woman who welcomes her man back even though he abandoned her to be a soldier & is now disabled.

 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Probably me, mentioned here before. Was chatting with him in 2005, the topic of Kate Bush came up, I laughed and said to him that I thought he hated her, and he said no, he never said that, and then he asked me if I know her song “Army Dreamers”? I said of course I do, he said he liked that one.


the subject matter makes one imagine he may of had it in mind when writing I Bury The Living.

Funny this thread came up. I was thinking about what Street said about (Cloudbusting?) Kate Bush being an influence as I was listening
to Eleanor Rigby, I also wondered if it’s string arrangements may of had some influence on Kate....


Anyway, AADWGT is an amazing song, but all the songs on Viva Hate are.

:cool:

It was you!

I also might have seen something positive about her in an interview. 🤔
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Warm, empathetic and inspired. The warmth and empathy is what his newer material lack the most.
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
It's one of those ones that you just pick up if you're around folk music. Someone could be singing it in the corner of a pub.

It was adapted into an American civil war song.


Morrissey does listen to folk/protest
music, I could imagine him coming across the song on some budget priced traditional folk song compilation when he was a early teen.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye - is a song about a woman who welcomes her man back even though he abandoned her to be a soldier & is now disabled.

Associated with Irish folk tradition, isn't it - that's how I think of it anyway. She meets him on the road to Athy* no less.
*which is where the Mahers are from, coincidentally
 
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