Cover Versions

It Is Indeed Over

If someone had told you back in 1985 that it would’ve been Elton John, or at a push Freddie Mercury who’d be the hip name to drop 30+ years in the future, while yer man of the moment Morrissey had slowly and painfully morphed into a paunchy, shitty-quiffed racist in bad jeans, you’d have struggled to believe them. As Elton’s position at the top table of pop is affirmatively reassessed via the Rocket Man movie and the resultant positive press, so too is old Stephen Patrick’s. The nadir, for this week at least, is Morrissey’s (at best) misguided and (at worst) dangerous decision to sport a For Britain badge on his lapel. To put this into context, even Nigel Farage considers the politics of For Britain a bit too extreme and right wing for his liking. It’s there in the paparazzi photos as he steps out of the car at the studio for an appearance on the Fallon TV show. It’s still there when he performs. And it’s still there a few days later when he’s snapped on some random Beverly Hills sidewalk or other. For all you know, it’s probably still there right now, a defiant and misguided symbol of knuckleheaded nationalism.

It’s a statement that’s led to Billy Bragg questioning the motives of the one-time king of the marginalised, disenfranchised and waifs and strays, referring to him as the Oswald Moseley of pop. As a result, we’ve also seen adverts for Morrissey’s brand new California Son album being ceremoniously ripped from the walls of Merseyrail train stations. The resultant fall out might’ve caused a lesser deity to back down somewhat and offer a hastily cobbled-together press release aimed at clearing up a ‘misunderstanding’, but, no. Seemingly, from his high horse in his house high in the Hollywood Hills, Morrissey has decided that For Britain is the political party for him and he wants everyone to know it.

Had he not had a new album to promote, it’s arguable whether we’d even be talking about the growing insignificance of Morrissey, although his continual shift to the far right will forever gurantee him a public profile somewhere in the corner of the internet marked ‘racist uncle’, so you could argue that the singer has played the press at their own game and won; new album released + controversial statement = increased profile + greater sales.

I’ve not properly listened to a Morrissey album since You Are The Quarry, these days considered a high point of his solo career (although back then I’d have placed it closer to the bottom of that particular list – it’s no Vauxhall And I, that’s for sure. And it’s certainly no Your Arsenal either) and I had no real inclination to hear his present-day take on a variety of off-the-beaten-track cover versions, even with the added ‘bonus’ of having one of Green Day duet with him on some old track or other.

An interview with Morrissey published last week – I still like to read what he has to say – had him reveal that his vocal delivery on his version of Roy Orbison’s It’s Over was “absolutely, hands down the best vocal delivery I have ever done.” Wow. Let that sink in. The man who’s very essence was etched into the grooves of some of the most heart-breaking records to escape the soul – Well I Wonder and I Know It’s Over, to name but two, considers his performance on It’s Over to be the very pinnacle of his singing career. Now, given that on those two Smiths’ tracks and many others (Vauxhall And I‘s Now My Heart Is Full, for example), Morrissey laid his life on the line, his very raison d’etre, like his beautiful, towering quiff, forever on the verge of collapse, I had to hear it.

It’s certainly dramatic. Harking back to the days of Ann Coats on Bigmouth Strikes Again, it begins with a comical sped-up Morrissey vocal. There’s nothing funny about the subject matter though. “Your baby doesn’t love you any-more,” he goes, as the band march out a funereal ra-ta-tat-tat. Strings sweep, bells toll, guitars crash. It rises, falls and rises again, a great wave of melodramatic emotion – “When she says to you, there’s somebody new, we’re through, we’re through!….it’s over!” As it reaches its climax, dogs for miles around begin to howl as the high-pitched warbling vocal in the background (Moz again, with the help from studio trickery?) threatens to take over. We’re at peak crescendo now, and then, suddenly, silence.

It’s Over.

It’s OK, I s’pose, a decent enough sign-off on a singing career that, for me, is now well and truly finished.

Now, off you run, Morrissey. And take your stupid political notions with you. We’ll always have Meat Is Murder, I guess.

It’s not a patch on the original, of course. For reverb ‘n twang and melodrama bathed in pathos and regret, Roy Orbison‘s tremulous voice cannot, will not, ever be matched. The end.

Roy Orbsion – It’s Over

 

14 thoughts on “It Is Indeed Over”

  1. Gordon Brown (“texture like sun”) when he was Prime Minister suggested a British National Holiday. A National Celebration of British Culture… and while New Labour’s idea of what “British Culture” might be, I certainly don’t think Gordon Brown or Tory B Liar’s notions of National Culture would chime with many of mine. Though I think you might find it hard to accuse either man of direct racism – beyond bombing Muslims in sunny countries for their oil of course.

    Sporting a badge which says the words “For Britain” is NOT racist. Nor was Stephen Patrick Morrissey trying to be racist or supporting racism. Nor is it a racist crime to be “for” your country – or does Plain or Plan know better than that these days? “Now salt rins ower the Solway sand as Tweed runs tae the ocean, tae mark whaur England’s Province stands…” was Burns being racist or was he pinting out the bleeding obvious? James Hogg’s “Both Sides The Tweed” (beautifully popularised by Dick Gaughan) touches even more beautifully on this theme.

    The Facebook, Twitter and Social Media Warriors possessed of such nerve splitting perfect grace like Craig McAllister can now declare that it is “racist” to support your own country! Please calm your engines. Next you will be suggesting that we should give away our fishing rights to Germany or Turkey because it would perhaps be “racist” to require proper licensing, quotas and tarriffs? Have you any idea why shops still have people on tills and security guards? Have you any idea why pubs still have the drinks for sale behind the bar?

  2. Okay first things first. Stewart! Don’t mis-quote Rabbie on my watch! It should read “Now Sark rins ower the Solway sand…” awright???? But you are absolutely correct… simply saying “For Britain” or saying those words do NOT make anyone a “racist”. Certainly not SPM whom I had the joy to meet in Hawick some years back! Craig McAllister and such free-thinkers should remember “Free Speech means the right for someone to say something you don’t agree with. If you don’t believe in THAT… then you don’t believe in Free Speech.”. If you think you can survive the deep impact of such a thought… read on.
    In this case Morrissey didn’t even say anything. He wore a badge with two words on it. For Britain. If anything he is reclaiming a positive endorsement of Britain from the likes of Anne Marie Waters. Much like Chuck D, Flava Flav, Public Enemy and NWA reclaimed the “N” word. They weren’t racists – or does Craig McAllister say they were? Some Irony in your soul is required Mr McA (God help the weans at your school). Pigeon-holing, labelling, simple derisive comments, inability to think complex… things just aint so simple. Morrissey certainly ain’t.
    Me and my husband taught in Greece for nearly 20 years each. Our 40 years worth of teaching pension was stolen by The EU under a ram-raid attached to a fraudulent “Euro” loan scheme for a non-existent “defence system” which was NEVER delivered to Greece. This fraud/ false (small) debt was snowballed and Greece was assett stripped to bail out the Euro at a time of the European Financial Crisis. Our teaching pensions with it. Not being racist against Germany or anything – but they NEVER even paid the Billions they owed Greece in War (WW2) Reparations. Europe ain’t simple and the EU was never about cheap wine for everyone, ease of working picking grapes in Provence for the summer of getting Poles to pick your Scottish Raspberries.

    The Common Market/ EEC/ European Union/ EU was never about people… IT (the Corporation had to keep changing its name) was all about Corporate Law and making all European Countries subject to Corporate Law. Wait till they come and take your pension Craig. If you don’t like it… will that make you a “racist”? Sorry for having to state the bleeding obvious.

  3. Jings! Wow!

    How we got from pop to politics to (mis)quoted poets to dwindling pension pots I’ll never know, but here we are.

    Hey Stewart, Hey Alison,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. You’ve both clearly considered your words and thought about what you were going to say rather than just bash out the first retaliatory thoughts that came into your head, so cheers for that.

    That said, I can’t agree with either of you.

    Simply saying “For Britain” doesn’t make you a racist, agreed. I’m proudly ‘For Scotland’ and equally, I am a liberal-minded, open, tolerant person. Enough about me though. Whatabout ol’ Morrissey?

    Simply saying “For Britain” doesn’t make you a racist, but wearing a For Britain badge, I think, kinda, (definitely) does.

    And here’s why…

    Morrissey has flirted with far right imagery and sound bites for years. If you were being kind you might call him the original pre-internet troll. He’s certainly got a column-grabbing, attention-seeking way with words.

    Over time (decades) and In little chunks, his throwaway casual racism has been allowed to pass without much questioning;

    Asian Rut
    Bengali In Platforms
    “England for the English” on National Front Disco
    The “all reggae is vile” stuff
    The Madstock/Union Jack stuff
    etc etc blah blah blah

    Put together though, along with his more recent comments – “London is debased..” “(acid attacks) are the work of non-whites…” “I like Nigel Farage a great deal – his views are quite logical…” and you now have a compelling case for calling him a bigot, a fascist, a racist. He certainly identifies with such and such like.

    The wearing of the For Britain badge was, for me, the last straw, the final piece in a bigoted, superior, fascist jigsaw that’s been put together almost without question until now. I’m fed up making excuses for his quaint ways, his eccentricities and his unabashed ‘Britishness’ when in the clear light of day it’s obvious where his politics lie.

    A quick Google will tell you all you need to know about For Britain. For example;

    As a political party, For Britain was set up by an anti-Islamist. Their wooly manifesto statement on religious tolerance can be taken in more than one way;

    For Britain believes in freedom of thought and the rights of the individual to assent to, or reject, any philosophical, political, or religious belief system, without penalty or fear of religious blasphemy laws being disguised as hate crime.

    Make of that what you will.

    As can their policy on people entering the UK;

    For Britain believes in low and appropriate inward migration to the United Kingdom in order to preserve traditional British liberties.

    It’s racism masquerading as respectable party politics, plain and simple.

    Now, I’m just a pop writer, someone who took a shot at writing a political piece. I did so thinking most of the readers of Plain Or Pan would be similarly-thinking people. As it turns out, a whole can of worms has been opened, both here and on the Facebook page. It’s quite sad (and worrying, to be honest) that people – intelligent people – are still defending what is now indefensible.

    For the record, I welcome everyone here, even (just) the Morrissey apologists and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to comment, whether or not I agree with them.

    Some of you will be pleased to know that from now on I’ll be turning my attention back to what really matters, so I’ll be sticking to commenting on obscure records from the 70s and the likes. I might even write about The Smiths at some point down the line. I can’t pretend I won’t ever listen to them again. Their singer though? He’s dead to me.

  4. Jings! Wow!

    How we got from pop to politics to (mis)quoted poets to dwindling pension pots I’ll never know, but here we are.

    Hey Stewart, Hey Alison,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. You’ve both clearly considered your words and thought about what you were going to say rather than just bash out the first retaliatory thoughts that came into your head, so cheers for that.

    That said, I can’t agree with either of you.

    Simply saying “For Britain” doesn’t make you a racist, agreed. I’m proudly ‘For Scotland’ and equally, I am a liberal-minded, open, tolerant person. Enough about me though. Whatabout ol’ Morrissey?

    Simply saying “For Britain” doesn’t make you a racist, but wearing a For Britain badge, I think, kinda, (definitely) does.

    And here’s why…

    Morrissey has flirted with far right imagery and sound bites for years. If you were being kind you might call him the original pre-internet troll. He’s certainly got a column-grabbing, attention-seeking way with words.

    Over time (decades) and In little chunks, his throwaway casual racism has been allowed to pass without much questioning;

    Asian Rut
    Bengali In Platforms
    “England for the English” on National Front Disco
    The “all reggae is vile” stuff
    The Madstock/Union Jack stuff
    etc etc blah blah blah

    Put together though, along with his more recent comments – “London is debased..” “(acid attacks) are the work of non-whites…” “I like Nigel Farage a great deal – his views are quite logical…” and you now have a compelling case for calling him a bigot, a fascist, a racist. He certainly identifies with such and such like.

    The wearing of the For Britain badge was, for me, the last straw, the final piece in a bigoted, superior, fascist jigsaw that’s been put together almost without question until now. I’m fed up making excuses for his quaint ways, his eccentricities and his unabashed ‘Britishness’ when in the clear light of day it’s obvious where his politics lie.

    A quick Google will tell you all you need to know about For Britain. For example;

    As a political party, For Britain was set up by an anti-Islamist. Their wooly manifesto statement on religious tolerance can be taken in more than one way;

    For Britain believes in freedom of thought and the rights of the individual to assent to, or reject, any philosophical, political, or religious belief system, without penalty or fear of religious blasphemy laws being disguised as hate crime.

    Make of that what you will.

    As can their policy on people entering the UK;

    For Britain believes in low and appropriate inward migration to the United Kingdom in order to preserve traditional British liberties.

    It’s racism masquerading as respectable party politics, plain and simple.

    Now, I’m just a pop writer, someone who took a shot at writing a political piece. I did so thinking most of the readers of Plain Or Pan would be similarly-thinking people. As it turns out, a whole can of worms has been opened, both here and on the Facebook page. It’s quite sad (and worrying, to be honest) that people – intelligent people – are still defending what is now indefensible.

    For the record, I welcome everyone here, even (just) the Morrissey apologists and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to comment, whether or not I agree with them.

    Some of you will be pleased to know that from now on I’ll be turning my attention back to what really matters, so I’ll be sticking to commenting on obscure records from the 70s and the likes. I might even write about The Smiths at some point down the line. I can’t pretend I won’t ever listen to them again. Their singer though? He’s dead to me.

  5. Yeah ………. what he said.
    That’s why Mista Callsta does a blog and I don’t, he can articulate it brilliantly (and, well ….. I can’t)

  6. “If you have a racist friend, now is the time, now is the time for your friendship to end…”.

    Of course wearing a For Britain badge means you are racist. As Craig says type For Britain in your address bar if you are interested in finding out about those loathsome fucks.

    Now what’s all this about the EU stealing my pension?

  7. Stick to your guns Craig- and don’t shy away from politics. Pop is part of the real world and pop and politics go way back.

    I’m amazed even the most devout Morrissey fan would defend the For Britain badge and claim its not racist. Race is the parties reason for existing.

  8. You’re spot on, as ever, with your observations, Craig, and as usual with your trademark eloquence. There will always be those who refuse to see the obvious. As for the personal abuse from those negative posters, wtf is that about? Sleep easy, your vision is as sharp and welcome as ever.

  9. Hey I thought you might have got the connection with “It’s Over”. Right the way through from “William It Was Really Nothing” to “Stephen You’re Still Really Something”? But you missed that point by falling on the tip of where your own mighty pen is… Remember that Free Speech means other people having the right to express views which you don’t agree with. If you do NOT believe in THAT, then you don’t believe in Free Speech. Get on with it laddie!
    At what point in the last nearly forty years did you not know that Morrissey was as English as an episode of Coronation Street with Tea and Digestives? The REAL extremism of “mainstream govt” in enforcing student fees, Universal Credit or ATOS assessments are more extreme and have had a more devastating impact on the lives of Millions of Britons than the wearing of any “For Britain” badge ever could have.
    Maybe you disapprove of the name of British Electric Foundation? Because it uses the word “British” in it? Or maybe you just don’t understand the significance of the tune. Billy is laughing his head off high above Auchterhouse Hill.
    Cheer up Craig, lift your toys back in your pram and live in the real world! Democracy means different Political Parties with different views. The marginal ones don’t get very far, but they serve a very useful purpose in reigning in the flappy loose ends of hand-wringing Liberalist Snowflakerishness! We need the likes of Morrissey, Hugh MacDiarmid, Ted Hughes and Ezra Pound in the world. We don’t need them as Prime Ministers (they wouldn’t want to be anyway) but they sure flavour up the soup! Stick on “Strangeways” and then blast out “You’re The One For Me Fatty” when Strangeways is done.

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