Earliest audio of Morrissey and Johnny Marr covering The Cookies’ ‘I Want A Boy for my Birthday’ from 1982 has been unearthed
Yesterday we brought you a very rare early set of demos from Morrissey and Johnny Marr at the beginning of The Smiths and their meteoric rise to prominence. Now, we bring you the earliest known recordings of the pair together, performing New York girl group the Cookies’ 1962 track ‘I Want a Boy for My Birthday’.
The early cover has been a whisper in the forums of dedicated Smiths fans for years. It was trotted out on only two occasions as part of the band’s live repertoire and has since been available as a less-than-desirable short and hardly audible clip. Until now.
The cover has now been posted in full by Dale Hibbert, a recording engineer who had briefly played bass parts for Morrissey and Johnny Marr during the early days of The Smiths. The former-engineer has been teasing the audio of the cover for nearly a year now following the aforementioned demo releases of ‘The Hand That Rocks The Cradle’ and ‘Suffer Little Children’ which were recorded at Manchester’s Decibelle Studios, also in August 1982.
While those songs were early demos provided in a studio, this clip is far more raw and far more insightful into the early moments of one of the most adored bands in British music history.
Smiths documenter and authority on all things Moz and Marr, Simon Goddard says in his book Songs That Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-87: “The earliest known surviving document in the recording history of The Smiths stems from those very first attic practice sessions with Morrissey, Marr and Hibbert.”
“It was for the latter’s benefit that the singer and guitarist taped a simple arrangement of ‘I Want A Boy For My Birthday,’ a 1963 B-side by New York girl group The Cookies, on Marr’s TEAC machine so that Hibbert could learn the melody in preparation for The Smiths’ first demo session. The cover was Morrissey’s idea. ‘I’d never heard it before,’ says Marr, ‘but I thought, “Great, this’ll really freak ’em out!” I was really happy to encourage it.’“
If you call yourself a fan of The Smiths, you have to hear this today.