Morrissey A-Z: "Jack the Ripper"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member




We kick off the J's with this Morrissey/Boorer track, originally a B-side on the "Certain People I Know" single. A live version (from Paris, 1992) was included on Beethoven Was Deaf as well as the B-side of "Now My Heart Is Full" in the US.

What do we think?
 
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The.Truth.

about Ruth
Great lyrics and mood. I prefer the live version. The point of view seems to have a lot of sympathy for the unfortunate subjects. It seems to be less about the actual Jack the Ripper or others like him and more about a figure who is kind of vampiric, hypnotic, and seducing these poor lost souls to a fate that seems not entirely unwelcome.
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
I have grown to appreciate the studio version of this song more, but the live version still towers way above it. I do like the Cure-esque aesthetic, and the addition of a different ending helps to separate the two even more. The swampier production helps to contrast (or maybe help?) the darkly romantic lyrics, that only really hint at the Ripper, like Nick Cave’s song of the same name (released around the same time). The live version’s slashing guitars and tension-filled atmosphere I are always going to draw me back in, though (especially the version of YouTube: live in Calgary on SER’s channel, part of a full concert; it’s one of the best).
Studio: 7/10
Live: 10/10
 

Nikita

Senior Member
I am probably the only one to prefer to studio version and I still don’t understand why he never sung the last lines in concert.

I have to admit though that the 2019 performances of the song were fantastic, especially because of the lights and smoke that oddly worked perfectly well.
 
'Crash into.....' is such a wonderous line, don't you think? '....as mean as your life has been'. Me and HIM spend a lot of time hanging around Whitechapel (not what you think, Ducky) and it is still possible, on dark nights, down the right side-streets and with the right amount of empathy, to see this hideously from the POV of the poor women involved. WE DID NOT like the March 2020 Leeds version of this: all those red lights (was there dry ice at one point?), a scene that would have been cut - 'too tacky' - from a low-budget end of era Hammer horror. Still, it's a magnificent song with the 2004 'WPTMIM?' version PEERLESS in its staging and delivery. It's in the cannon along with all the other songs about the lost, the lonely and the social/economic/class outcasts, the flotsam and jetsam of bitter lives lived briefly and in despair. 'I'm gonna get you...'
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
I am probably the only one to prefer to studio version and I still don’t understand why he never sung the last lines in concert.

I have to admit though that the 2019 performances of the song were fantastic, especially because of the lights and smoke that oddly worked perfectly well.
Yes, the smoke when he played this at Wembley last year was so intense!

(Reminded me of a Jesus and Mary Chain show back in the day where they pumped out so much dry ice that I think we caught a glimpse of the band once, during the entire show...)
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
To me, the version from the Who Put the M dvd/birthday show is forever cemented among his five greatest works as a solo artist. But most versions of this song are completely outstanding. A perfect mix of tense, creepy and poetic lyrics and deeply atmospheric music.
 
FURTHERMORE . . . It has occurred to us, recently, that this particular thread is actually worthy of a book. The best scribbling about music usually comes from the pens of the fan-obsessives, the ferret-eyed loners and the terminally ill. SO . . . we offer ourselves as co-editors. You have been warmed, by our hands. We have a title . . . .
 

Southport Grandma

Active Member
I like the whispered “I want you, I want you” at the very start of the studio version.

My preferred live take of it is that performed on the “Boxers” tour. There was a picture around the time of the songs release of Morrissey in a bookshop(?) holding a copy of the “Diary of Jack the Ripper” not sure if that was any inspiration.

In said book one of the dramatis personae is referred to repeatedly as “bunny”; probably not connected to “Now My Heart is Full” but still an odd coincidence.
 
I like the whispered “I want you, I want you” at the very start of the studio version.

My preferred live take of it is that performed on the “Boxers” tour. There was a picture around the time of the songs release of Morrissey in a bookshop(?) holding a copy of the “Diary of Jack the Ripper” not sure if that was any inspiration.

In said book one of the dramatis personae is referred to repeatedly as “bunny”; probably not connected to “Now My Heart is Full” but still an odd coincidence.
Probs not. 'Bunny' = Brighton Rock
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
So that's two of his very best B-sides turning up back to back.

For me, it feels like the "How soon is now" of his solo career, starting out as a little obscure B-side on the 3rd single of a successful album, making it all the way up to end as one of his most loved songs, always fantastic live.

I love the spooky and haunting atmosphere, the tension and the words. I always found the first version intriguing, but have to admit that the addition of the instrumental and guitar part in the middle made it more epic.
 

Ben Budd

Well-Known Member
Yeah it's great.

Best live versions - 2004 then 1995.

I hate the way he's butchered it in it's present live form with the twatty laughing and lyric changes. Just sing the song.
 

CJM

Active Member
The truly glorious Jack The Ripper is one of those rare songs that just gets better with each listen – no mean feat when it was released almost thirty years ago. Such a sinister, haunting number – is it purely about Jack the Ripper, is there an autobiographical element here – will we ever know? Yesterday’s song on this enjoyable daily distraction, I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty, is such a juxtaposition to today’s, highlighting how great and varied Morrissey’s idiosyncratic style was in that joyous 1991/1992 period.

And of course, ‘Your face is as mean as your life has been’ is a wonderful little line, and really should be further immortalised in a humorous range of Valentine’s Day cards (if it hasn’t been already).
 

Janice

Active Member
Yeah it's great.

Best live versions - 2004 then 1995.

I hate the way he's butchered it in it's present live form with the twatty laughing and lyric changes. Just sing the song.
Fully appreciate the stance here.
I think the current delivery of it started in 2016, and whilst early efforts were excellent, it seemed to become more dramatic now, even working its way to encore status. The rats addition almost guillotined the song completely. Hopefully it will be omitted in future, it’s had a good run - every concert in the last 5 years. And replaced with Soringheeled Jim or similar.
 

Ryan

Moderator
Moderator
Subscriber
To me, the version from the Who Put the M dvd/birthday show is forever cemented among his five greatest works as a solo artist. But most versions of this song are completely outstanding. A perfect mix of tense, creepy and poetic lyrics and deeply atmospheric music.

Imagine the M in Manchester version WITH the “nobody knows me” lines sung at the end. That would’ve been perfect.
 

rifke

team bougatsa
sexiest song ever
 

Ben Budd

Well-Known Member
Fully appreciate the stance here.
I think the current delivery of it started in 2016, and whilst early efforts were excellent, it seemed to become more dramatic now, even working its way to encore status. The rats addition almost guillotined the song completely. Hopefully it will be omitted in future, it’s had a good run - every concert in the last 5 years. And replaced with Soringheeled Jim or similar.

Can't wait to get to complain about what the bastards did to Speedway.
 
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