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6 Funniest Smiths Lyrics

Updated on September 14, 2009


Morrissey is often characterised as a moaning minny from Manchester, perpetually obsessed with loneliness and rainy days and death. There's a bit of truth in that these things are recurring themes in his work, but what few outside Smiths' fandom realise is just how damn funny his lyrics often are. Even in the most serious of contexts, Morrissey will chuck a piece of hilarious nonsense in to lighten the mood.

So, here's a little trip through 10 of my favourite moments of Smithsical hilarity. I hope you enjoy them :)

The Queen is Dead

This song, rightly lauded as a scorching excoriation of the idea of monarchy, is a textbook example of how Morrissey would often undercut his most po-faced themes with sparkling wit - although veering dangerously close to the kind of overly-vaudeville tone that would characterise his weaker solo albums such as 'Kill Uncle'.

Killer lines:

And so, I checked all the registered historical facts 
And I was shocked into shame to discover 
How I'm the 18th pale descendant 
Of some old queen or other 

So, I broke into the palace 
With a sponge and a rusty spanner 
She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

Frankly Mr. Shankly

In real life, this was an incredibly barbed attack on an executive from the Smiths' record company. The song's rollicking country 'n' western backing is an inspired match to the Smiths song that probably contains more throwaway moments of laughter than any other. Of all the couplets in this song, probably the most memorable is this nugget of joy...

Killer line:
But sometimes I feel more fulfilled,
Making xmas cards for the mentally ill

Handsome Devil

Sometimes, there's no need for a lengthy piece of contextualisation:

Killer line:
Let me get my hands
On your mammary glands


Never one to shy away from self-mockery, Morrissey is clearly playing with his own stereotype in this song. While it's most famous lyric is the line "If it's not love then it's the bomb that will bring us together", this light-hearted summery song is best encapsulated in the following delightfully whimsical piece of imagery.

Killer line:

Spending warm summer days indoors
Writing frightening verse
To a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

This piece of throwaway from the tail-end of The Queen Is Dead album is the kind of thing that divides opinion when it comes to the Smiths (and Morrissey's lyrics in particular). Light on content and meaning, it is mainly memorable for its sparse, haunting guitar line. Nonetheless, Morrissey's lyric may skirt with vaudeville, but delivered with a wink, the following observation makes perfect sense in context

Killer line
Some girls are bigger than others.
Some girls mothers are bigger than other girls mother

Vicar in a Tutu

Another classic 'joke' lyric that sees Morrissey playing with the things that made him such a controversial figure throughout the 80s - the mockery of authority and religion, coupled with a sly interest in sexual ambivalence and the criminal classes. A vicar in a tutu is a memorable image in itself, but when it is allied to the charge of hypocrisy it is impossible to stifle a guffaw. Like a play on George Formby's windowcleaner, Morrissey's anti-hero thief is shown to be no worse than the hypocrites who fulminate from the pulpits

Killer line
I was minding my business
Lifting some lead off
The roof of the Holy Name church
It was worthwhile living a laughable life
To set my eyes on the blistering sight
Of a vicar in a tutu


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      dave 5 years ago

      the smiths are the best!

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      mak 6 years ago

      How about Shakespeares sister...."I thought that if you played acoustic guitar that it meant that you were a protest singer....I can smile about it now but at the time it was terrible.."