Watch rare footage of The Smiths performing 'How Soon Is Now'
Smiths album cover. (Credit: Rough Trade)

Watch extremely rare footage of The Smiths performing ‘How Soon Is Now’ live, 1986

“I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does.” — Morrissey, The Smiths.

Originally arriving as the B-side to 1984 single ‘William, It Was Really Nothing’, The Smiths’ song ‘How Soon Is Now?’ soon built up a cult following and emerged as one of the band’s all-time classic tracks.

After debuting as a B-side, the iconic Manchester band subsequently released ‘How Soon Is Now?’ as part of their compilation album Hatful of Hollow through Rough Trade Records and demonstrated a different stylistic approach from the band who had already successfully established themselves as leaders in the alternative music scene.

Recorded as part of a four-day studio session at Earl’s Court in London in June 1984 and came as a result of a lengthy period of overindulgence: “We used to smoke dope from when we got out of bed to when we got back to bed,” producer John Porter remembered from the recording session. “You’re from Manchester, you smoke weed till it comes out of your ears,” Johnny Marr added.

Detailing their approach to the song, Marr said: “The vibrato [tremolo] sound is incredible, and it took a long time. I put down the rhythm track on an Epiphone Casino through a Fender Twin Reverb without vibrato.

“Then we played the track back through four old Twins, one on each side. We had to keep all the amps vibrating in time to the track and each other, so we had to keep stopping and starting the track, recording it in 10-second bursts.”

Marr added: “It is possibly [the Smiths’] most enduring record. It’s most people’s favourite, I think.”

Below, enjoy rare footage of the band performing the song live as part of a concert taking place around two years after the band released it.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Delivering curated content