Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow

This week (November 12th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Hatful of Hollow, a compilation album featuring BBC Radio 1 recordings and a few new tracks from the Smiths. This Platinum seller went to number 91 in Canada, number 28 in Sweden, number 21 in New Zealand and number 7 in the UK.

Side one begins with a new single “William, It Was Really Nothing”; it went to number 17 in the UK and number 8 in Ireland. I like the light, playful guitar riff in the background on this one, and how Morrissey shifts into his upper register at the very end.

This version of “What Difference Does It Make” was taken from a radio session with English deejay John Peel on May 31st, 1983. It appeared on the band’s debut album The Smiths. As a single, it charted at number 12 in Ireland and the UK earlier in 1984.

This version of “These Things Take Time” comes from the June 26th, 1983, session with David Jensen. The original appeared on the B-side of the “What Difference Does It Make” single.

The Smith’s performed a jauntier “This Charming Man” on the September 14th, 1983, session with Peel. As a single from their debut album, it went to number 52 in Australia and number 21 in the UK.

“How Soon Is Now” is the B-side to the first new single, and it would appear a year later on the US release of their album Meat Is Murder. This is one of my favorite songs by the band, thanks to the reverberating guitar that gives it such a cool vibe.

“Handsome Devil” comes from a May 18th, 1983, session with Peel. I like the energy of this one.

“Hand in Glove” appeared first on The Smiths; the single version which peaked at number 124 in the UK in 1983 is presented here.

“Still Ill”, also from The Smiths, comes from the September 14th Peel session. This rendition opens and closes with a harmonica solo by Johnny Marr.

Side two opens with “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable”. As a new studio single, it went to number 11 in Ireland and number 10 in the UK. The song focuses on a man’s depressed mood despite the joy and prosperity in the world around him.

Also from the September 14th Peel session comes “This Night Has Opened My Eyes”. This one features a slower, almost jazzy, rhythm.

From the June 26th Jensen session comes “You’ve Got Everything Now”, a track that first appeared on The Smiths.

The band performed “Accept Yourself” on-air with Jensen on August 25th, 1983. The message here is that one must have self-awareness.

“Girl Afraid”, a single B-side for “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable”, prominently features a cool surf-rock guitar riff.

“Back to the Old House” comes from the September 14th Peel session. It was done as an acoustic number

This version of “Reel Around the Fountain”, the lead track from The Smiths, comes from the May 18th Peel session.

“Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” was also a B-side, and appeared on the soundtracks of two 1986 John Hughes’ movies - Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (though the latter was actually an instrumental version done by the Dream Academy).

There were two interesting things about many of the tracks found on Hatful of Hollow. First, a good number of these appeared on BBC Radio 1 before the band had even put out their debut album. Second, the Smiths were a very tight live band right out of the gate.

For more from the Smiths, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

As a very late blooming fan of the band, Hatful Of Hollow was my first Smiths CD and holds a very near and dear place in my heart, as do all the songs. It was a gift from my good friend John Book, which makes it even more special.

I always figured that since they were a critically acclaimed band, they couldn't possibly be something I should listen to. I was so wrong. Quickly scarfed up every album, single, b-side and have since purchased two maybe three sets of their CDs. I don't consider myself a big Smiths fan but I can go into these musical trances where I can listen to nothing but Smiths for days as a happily married middle-aged man.