Morrissey A-Z: "Nothing Rhymed" (live cover)


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We kick off the week with Morrissey's live cover of Gilbert O'Sullivan's hit single of late 1970, which then featured on his debut album Himself in 1971. I've included the original, and its amazing video, above.

What do we think of this?

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
It’s another Moz live cover - which means it’s an accurate, and pleasant reading of another song, most of the time. Nowhere near anything off of California Son, but his vocals are in good form and the instrumentation is at least a little different, with upright bass and benevolent keys. Nothing that I’ve listened to before, and I doubt - unless it’s a new Boz mix on the A-side of a bizarre single - I will listen to again.


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The similarity between this song and "Yes I Am Blind" has been noted in the past - not sure if it's ever been acknowledged / mentioned by either Morrissey or O'Sullivan?


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(Which has now reminded me that Lorde apparently "got the blessing" of George Michael's estate for her new song Solar Power - fair enough - but also of Bobby Gillespie which is hilarious given Gillespie's 35 years of shamelessly ripping off everybody under the sun.)


rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
growing up as a wee boy watching top of the pops i used to watch gilbert and think i hope i dont grow up looking like that,he just looked so boring.
back to the song,it is what it is.
next,fast forward,time machine to to glasgow might pop into monorail and ask where is the M section.
5 nothings/10nothings.

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
The similarity between this song and "Yes I Am Blind" has been noted in the past - not sure if it's ever been acknowledged / mentioned by either Morrissey or O'Sullivan?
Nothing I’ve seen acknowledging any similarity but O’Sullivan did recognise that Moz was covering his songs:
“Anyway, so Morrissey. If you know Morrissey from The Smiths and stuff, he was a huge fan of ‘Nothing Rhymed’ and has performed it many times. daughter showed me on YouTube...his band performing the b-side, and I thought ‘oh bloody hell, that sounds great, so I’m gonna do it”
Taken from Save Us Morrissey.
The b-side being “I Didn’t Know What To Do”.


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I think, in this instance, Moz fails to edge the original, possibly by slowing it down too much.
It's clearly a tribute to GO'S (Irish singer-songwriter), & would have been a track Moz heard when around the age of 11, given its release in 1970, & maybe therefore has some nostalgic relevance to him. I actually do like the song, & lyrically it's very clever, but the original is much better on this occasion.


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Love the original, love the cover version, although it's not as great as Morrissey's take on I Didn't Know What To Do, which is still his best Gilbert cover yet (still waiting for the Matrimony/Wedding Bell Blues/Will Never Marry medley).

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
A good song and it fits Mozzer perfectly. I used to listen to it (it being Moz’ cover version) regularly about 10 years ago, but haven’t heard it since.

Famous when dead


"Nothing Rhymed" has been covered by artists such as Tom Jones and Dusty Springfield, but it was a live version by Morrissey that most fascinated O'Sullivan, who sees some parallels between himself and the former Smiths frontman."

"I've heard that he did it on stage [but] he's not recorded it. [My agent in Ireland] said Morrissey's a big fan and the earlier stuff of mine was a big influence on him. Because, I guess, in a way I was like that, I was a very kind of indie person, you know. I didn't mix with people, I'm not social, I'm very much into my own little world, very much love music. I don't really have close friends and that, I looked a bit weird, so I think people kind of related to that. I think Morrissey, arguably, in the very beginning, picked up on that...I'd loved to have heard it," he said.

Gilbert O' Sullivan interview - The Daily Yomiuri, Sep. 23, 2011.

Enjoy this track.


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An excellent piece of songwriting from Gilbert, but this live version isn't all that noteworthy. The most interesting thing to me, as I've mentioned before, is that Morrissey has probably covered his songs in concert live now as many times (despite their brief stays in the set list) as any other songwriter.

The band don't really add anything and are outshone by Morrissey's voice.
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