After the successful album "The Queen Is Dead" the Smiths started working on their next album and last for Rough Trade with the intention to contract another record company afterwards. Johnny Marr stated that the album was intended to be a homage to the Walker Brothers. They recorded at the Wool Hall Studios in Beckington (Somerset, UK) that was established and at that time owned by Tears For Fears. Stephen Street was producing the album but discovered something was wrong. Marr and Morrissey were the writers for the band like Jagger/Richards or Lennon/McCartney but their musical ideas started to differ. A recording day was followed by a drinking party after Morrissey went home to sleep. There was a wine cellar in the studios. Marr took a break because he was very tired which was negatively perceived by his bandmates. "Bengali in Platforms" was recorded for the album but never completed but ended up on Morrissey's debut album after the split up of the Smiths.

The Smiths on the streets of Manchester

Marr decided to leave the band which resulted in the end of the Smiths. Some songs were recorded for the B-Sides for "Girlfriend In A Coma" and these turn out to be the last recordings they ever did. These were "Work Is A Four-Letter-Word" and "I Keep Mine Hidden". The band tried Marr to persuade to do some live performances to promote the album but at that point the split between Morrissey and Marr became clear. It was over. The Smiths were no more! The biggest frustration of Morrissey was that Marr started working with other artists while they were recording their last album.

The Smiths in front of the Salford lads club

"Strangeways Here We Come" is the fourth and final studio album by the Smiths and was released after the band disbanded. All songs were composed by Johnny Marr with lyrics written and sung by Morrissey. Even after the release of the album the tensions within the band couldn't be solved and they met each other at the court in this case because of royalties. Morrissey and Marr earned 40% each while Rourke and Joyce earned only 10% and were considered as session musicians. They applied for 25% each member.

Girlfriend In A Coma - single cover

The Songs
Songs again were dealing about death and parting which still was the ingredient of the songs: “I Won’t Share You”, “Death at One’s Elbow”, “If you should die/I may feel slightly sad” words from “Unhappy Birthday” and in “Paint a Vulgar Picture”. Even “Girlfriend in a Coma” which sounds happy but the overall theme "I Know I Know It's SERIOUS" reaching #13 in the UK released as a single. "Girlfriend in a Coma" was inspired by Bob and Marcia's version of the Nina Simone song "To Be Young, Gifted and Black".

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before - single cover

A sort of tango “A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours” is the opener for the album. “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” is one of my favourites from the band released as a single. The videos of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" and "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" included shots of the Salford Lad's Club in Manchester. Which would become a landmark for Smiths fans. It was a recreational club opened in 1904 by Robert Baden-Powell who later founded the scout movement. Graham Nash (from the Hollies/CSN(Y)) used to be a member of the club.

Kill Uncle Tour promo. The picture of Harvey Keitel

The artwork for the album was designed by Morrissey and was a picture of actor Richard Davalos known for the movie "East Of Eden" from 1955. Richard looked to his costar from that movie: James Dean. Morrissey was a fan of James Dean. He even wrote a book called "James Dean Is Not Dead". Morrissey originally intended a picture of Harvey Keitel in Martin Scorsese's movie "I Call First" from 1967 but Keitel declined to use the picture. In 1991 Keitel finally gave permission and the picture was now used on T-Shirts and posters for Morrissey's 1991 "Kill Uncle" Tour.

Strangeways Prison / HM Prison Manchester

Title of the album
Strangeways is the name of a notorious prison in Manchester which looks like a castle. Strangeways Prison is nowadays called HM Prison Manchester. The rest of the title was from the novell "Billy Liar" which included the line "Borstal, here we come".

The album was did very well in the charts and reached #2 in the UK, #20 in the Netherlands and #55 in the US. 

The album is the Magnum Opus for the band. Both Marr and Moz agree with this.

After the split of the band Morrissey started a succesful solo career. Marr appeared occasional with other artists. He was best know for his collaboration with Bernard Sumner of New Order and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop boys in the band Electronic in 1989. He became a session musician for many artists including The The. Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce worked again with Morrissey in 1988 and 1989 for some exlusive singles which were released on the compilation "Bona Drag". They also became session musicians for many artists together or separately.

Strangeways Here We Come (1987)
A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours / I Started Something I Couldn't Finish / Death of a Disco Dancer / Girlfriend in a Coma / Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before / Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me / Unhappy Birthday / Paint a Vulgar Picture / Death at One's Elbow / I Won't Share You

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

Girlfriend In A Coma

Unhappy Birthday