Hit and Smith

Front cover of Songs that Saved Your Life by Simon GoddardSongs that Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-87, Simon Goddard (Titan Books 2013)

I enjoyed Simon Goddard’s Mozipedia – The Encyclopedia of Morrissey and The Smiths a lot. And learnt a lot from it too. But I haven’t bothered finishing Simon Goddard’s Songs that Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-87 (an updated edition of The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life, 2002). There’s too much rock-writer rhetoric, too many mixed metaphors, too few pictures. None, in fact, apart from the band-photo on the front cover and the tickets on the back. Part of the problem is that The Smiths were only Act One in Mozza’s career. Johnny Marr played guitar well and wrote some beautiful tunes. But Morrissey was the interesting, eclectic and original one in The Smiths: the Mogpie didn’t need Marr a quarter as much as Marr needed the Mogpie. That’s part of why Mozipedia is better. Use this book as a supplement, because it’s got a lot of disc-o-detail and the appendices are good, covering The Smiths on record, in concert and on TV and radio. Goddard doesn’t have room to get rock-o-rhetorical there.

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