moz monday: work is a four letter word

Seems of late every festival season opens with rumblings of a reunion of The Smiths. But if Coachella can’t coax them out of retirement for a reported $60+ million dollars, then probably nothing will.

The split happened back in 1987, months before the release of Strangeways, Here We Come, and interestingly enough it had more than a little bit to do with the song “Work Is A Four Letter Word”.

It was a b-side, along with “I Keep Mine Hidden”, on the “Girlfriend In A Coma” single.

Turns out, the song was added to the single at Morrissey’s insistence, which amounted to one of the certainly many final straws for Johnny Marr.

For US fans of The Smiths, like myself, it might be news to learn that the song is a cover of a Cilla Black original:

And who is Cilla Black? A contemporary of Dusty Springfield and early client of Brian Epstien, she happened to star in and record the theme song for a subversive 1968 comedy entitled Work Is A Four-Letter Word about a lazy fiance who would rather grow shrooms in his apartment than get a job and get married.

Seems like Johnny could have brewed a cup of magic tea, had a laugh and kept the band together. But then we’d have never heard from Johnny Marr and the Healers.


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