Morrissey A-Z: "Michael's Bones"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member


Today's song is this Morrissey/Street composition, a B-side from "The Last of the Famous International Playboys".

What do we think of this one?
 

Janice

Well-Known Member
Face down on the sports ground.
wasn’t instantly a song I cared for but over the 30 years since, I’ve grown to appreciate it a little more.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
There's a lot of conjecture out on the web re; what this song is about (Michael Collins, Michael Kelly, Michael Ryan, & even Moz himself) with no final conclusion &, as with so many Moz songs, ambiguity ruling the day. Too many rabbit holes to go down. Regardless, it's a very dark & haunting masterpiece impeccably delivered by Moz, as usual.
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
A beautiful song, with echoes of The Cure in the arrangement. Very sinister, too, helped by the electric guitar winding its way around the acoustics. The lyrics, while spare, illustrate a disturbing picture of the titular objects, and increase the cold, detached feeling of the overall composition. It seems of a piece with the first version of “Jack The Ripper” (I.e. the b-side version), and, like that later track, doesn’t really place anywhere clearly in his discography.
A unique piece, then.
8/10
 

ThePoliticalRevolution

Well-Known Member
A beautiful song, with echoes of The Cure in the arrangement. Very sinister, too, helped by the electric guitar winding its way around the acoustics. The lyrics, while spare, illustrate a disturbing picture of the titular objects, and increase the cold, detached feeling of the overall composition. It seems of a piece with the first version of “Jack The Ripper” (I.e. the b-side version), and, like that later track, doesn’t really place anywhere clearly in his discography.
A unique piece, then.
8/10
Don't compare Morrissey to the Cure! Thats terrible!
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth

None of the people this song is supposed to be about really fit the lyrics. I would like to hear anything he has had to say about this song. I like it a lot just as it is with the meaning left open. The "Mister policeman" line reminds me of "Dear inspector, don't you know?"
It's a very Morrissey song.
8/10
 
Last edited:

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
The Michael Collins one doesn't feel accurate - I think it was asserted via Hoffman that he died at Béal na Bláth "sports ground", but the historical evidence doesn't refer to it as a sports ground.
Michael Hogan however (Bloody Sunday victim), died literally on a football field - so is a candidate.
That said, Hungerford was only about 15 months old when the single appeared (about 12 months when recorded) - not convinced about that though.
So, yes, ambiguity reigns.

Let's check out another track off it, this is "Michaels Bones".

Ah yes. It's probably too sad for me to tell you what it's really about but, uh... there he lay.

Regards,
FWD.
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
not for me sadly,i can see why people like it but for me theres no real tune to it and its a big bit dull. we move on to the next song tomorrow.everybody is allowed a duffer or two in their work.
5 face downs/10 sports grounds.
 
D

Deleted member 29235

Guest
The Michael Collins one doesn't feel accurate - I think it was asserted via Hoffman that he died at Béal na Bláth "sports ground", but the historical evidence doesn't refer to it as a sports ground.
Michael Hogan however (Bloody Sunday victim), died literally on a football field - so is a candidate.
That said, Hungerford was only about 15 months old when the single appeared (about 12 months when recorded) - not convinced about that though.
So, yes, ambiguity reigns.

Let's check out another track off it, this is "Michaels Bones".

Ah yes. It's probably too sad for me to tell you what it's really about but, uh... there he lay.

Regards,
FWD.

Whilst Michael Ryan did not die on a sports ground, he did commit suicide in John O'Gaunt College which was adjacent to sports fields. I've never had any doubt as to the subject matter of this song - that Morrissey changed a detail (or got it wrong) is probably irrelevant.
 

Janice

Well-Known Member

None of the people this song is supposed to be about really fit the lyrics. I would like to hear anything he has had to say about this song. I like it a lot just as it is with the meaning left open. The "Mister policeman" line reminds me of "Dear inspector, don't you know?"
It's a very Morrissey song.
8/10
Well put
Pretty much how I see it.
None of the people it’s possibly about don’t really fit character wise
 
With apologies in advance for the following namedropping but nevertheless 100% true story...

In the very first conversation that I ever had with Moz at his mum's house, I asked specifically for the identities of Michael and Tony (the Pony)

He would reveal neither but did say that I was the first person to ever say anything nice about Tony The Pony as a song.

The reason I asked was that Michael's Bones is my favourite Moz solo song ever, yes, even more than Maudlin Street.

I agree that it's bleak and musically sparse and if he released it today, I'd probably rip it to shreds on this A-Z series which again I want to thank Bookish Boy for continuing.

However, Michael's Bones was intensely personal to me at that time and he did indeed lay where he fell, face down.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
I can hardly bear to listen to this, even 30+ years after first hearing it. It just feels so personal and intimate and desolately sad. (And of course with that typically Morrisseyesque twist at the end, of feeling jealous of someone who's dead / disabled / imprisoned, etc.) Beautiful song.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Musically I think this was a big step down from some of the previous b-sides and it is something of a dirge. A smart move to not include it on the Bona Drag comp.

Lyrically it is more interesting, and Morrissey's contribution turns it into a decent song.

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 197th from 264 solo songs.
 

Nikita

Senior Member
I immediately adored this song, more than the A side, and never understood why it was overlooked - its absence on Bona Drag or any compilation for years.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
Beautiful to the point of being astonishing/unanswerable.

It’s songs such as this that made Morrissey a nigh on spiritual experience, in the 90s.

I don’t think I’ve ever played this just once, which is to say I immediately need to hear it again once I’ve played it.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
It's OK as a B-Side, but I feel that it's missing something. The chorus doesn't quite develop into anything stronger or hookier than the verses, and other than Vini's wobbly lead guitar line, there's nothing much of note happening musically either. It does have a nicely dark mood, so plenty of atmosphere here, but that's about it. Not bad, just largely forgettable during this period of so many strong songs. [6 bones out of 10]
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Well-Known Member
It's stunningly beautiful. The production is absolutely pristine and it's one of his most fragile yet intense vocals.
 
Tags
morrissey a-z
Top Bottom