Subscribe to our newsletter


Listen to Johnny Marr and Morrissey's earliest recordings as The Smiths, 1982

In 1982 there were two men in Manchester determined to make a mark on the musical landscape. Guitarist Johnny Marr and singer Steven Patrick Morrissey took to Decibelle Studios to record their earliest demos as The Smiths. You can hear those tracks below.

Brought to us by the sound engineer at Decibelle Studios at the time, Dale Hibbert, the offering comes complete not only with the early demos but also the isolated tracks of both Johnny Marr’s guitar and Morrissey’s impressive vocal. It’s a really interesting demo from the band which shows off their talent, their cultured technique, and their vision for the future.

The band took on their two early recordings, the first they’d written for new project The Smiths, and give wonderfully revealing tapes of ‘The Hand that Rocks the Cradle’ and ‘Suffer Little Children’. Both tracks are given their early outing here but would also find their way on the band’s debut record just two years later.

Dale Hibbert, who provided not only ample help for the band during the recording process, also delivers us with the isolated tracks and demos below but even provided the bass for The Smiths on ‘The Hand that Rocks the Cradle’ that day. Simon Wolstencraft was the drummer on these sessions.

Hibbert then uploaded the two demos and even added some extra isolated vocal and instrumental tracks for your listening pleasure. The demos are relatively intact in comparison to the two songs which would end up on The Smiths in 1984. While both have been stripped back a little from their 6:30 and 6:54 running times, ‘Suffer Little Children’ in particular is as hauntingly brilliant here as the first notes on their debut LP.

One notable change, however, was the mock Myra Hindley voiceover was also more explicit in the demo, cackling and audibly crying out the victims’ Christian names: ‘Lesley! Edward! John!’ to add an extra level of incendiary and inflammatory lyrics. It’s a mark of the band’s punk influence, if not delivery.

It sees the band at their startling beginnings, finding their feet and their sound. However, what struck us most is how little it changed from 1982 to 1984. Johnny Marr and Morrissey were clearly set out to sound like The Smiths from the very beginning.

Listen below to The Smiths’ earliest recordings from 1982.

‘Hand that Rocks the Cradle’

Morrissey’s isolated vocal on ‘Hand that Rocks the Cradle’

Johnny Marr’s isolated guitar on ‘Hand that Rocks the Cradle’

‘Suffer Little Children’

Source: Slicing Up Eyeballs