Morrissey A-Z: "Michael's Bones"

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
It's OK as a B-Side, but I feel that it's missing something. The chorus doesn't quite develop into anything stronger or hookier than the verses, and other than Vini's wobbly lead guitar line, there's nothing much of note happening musically either. It does have a nicely dark mood, so plenty of atmosphere here, but that's about it. Not bad, just largely forgettable during this period of so many strong songs. [6 bones out of 10]
I think Vini was gone by this point.

I presume Craig Gannon and Neil Taylor provided the guitars.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
I also hear echoes of the first recorded version of "Jack The Ripper" (= B-side to Certain People), and a bit of Maladjusted too.
But the lyrics are one of his bleakest ever. I find it a tough listen due to tis intensity.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
There's a lot of conjecture out on the web re; what this song is about (Michael Collins, Michael Kelly, Michael Ryan, & even Moz himself) with no final conclusion &, as with so many Moz songs, ambiguity ruling the day. Too many rabbit holes to go down. Regardless, it's a very dark & haunting masterpiece impeccably delivered by Moz, as usual.
I always understood it to be about Ryan so I’m a little surprised to see that there are other candidates.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I think Vini was gone by this point.

I presume Craig Gannon and Neil Taylor provided the guitars.
Correct.
Courtesy of PJLM: "The musicians on this recording were Craig Gannon (guitar), Andy Rourke (bass), Mike Joyce (drums), Stephen Street (keyboards) and Neil Taylor (second guitar)."
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I always understood it to be about Ryan so I’m a little surprised to see that there are other candidates.
As I've just suggested in another thread "I'm beginning to think sometimes Moz takes multiple snippets of stories & ties them together brilliantly in song." just to keep us all guessing, no doubt.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
just a b-side with one of the best treatments/productions (wonderful delays) and arrangements ever heard on a Morrissey song. Perfect choice of tone on that lead guitar, so expressively played, love the moog (?) which adds a lot to the song’s texture. The overall sadness and intensity that I wish had been captured on songs like Death of a disco dancer and Last night I dreamt, but was not, is all here in Michael’s Bones.

And then there is that voice, and then there are those lyrics .....



“And now you've turned the last bend
And see - how we all judge the same at the end

Tell me, tell me

Oh, lucky thing
You are too brave
And I'm ashamed of myself

As usual”


💙💜🖤
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
just a b-side with one of the best treatments/productions (wonderful delays) and arrangements ever heard on a Morrissey song. Perfect choice of tone on that lead guitar, so expressively played, love the moog (?) which adds a lot to the song’s texture. The overall sadness and intensity that I wish had been captured on songs like Death of a disco dancer and Last night I dreamt, but was not, is all here in Michael’s Bones.

And then there is that voice, and then there are those lyrics .....



“And now you've turned the last bend
And see - how we all judge the same at the end

Tell me, tell me

Oh, lucky thing
You are too brave
And I'm ashamed of myself

As usual”


💙💜🖤
My hearing of those lyrics are:

And see...are we all judged the same at the end?
Tell me, tell me.


Which, being a question, I think adds a slightly different context.
 

Phranc & Open

Well-Known Member
Morrissey's intangible voice alone carries the song. The wandering acoustic guitar, the bursting of bones and everything happens with that northern English detachment and politeness. Only Morrissey could define such songs in 1989 and offer them as a B-side. Oh damn, he was so special back then and he had the right people around him.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
My hearing of those lyrics are:

And see...are we all judged the same at the end?
Tell me, tell me.


Which, being a question, I think adds a slightly different context.

Yes I questioned it too, and I could be wrong, but I must go with what I’m hearing.

Actually not until I really focused on it today, I always heard it as ‘turning turning’ in reference to ‘the last bend’
but now, I’m pretty sure it’s ‘tell me tell me’.


Anyway this song is 10/10 !


These guys were all on the same page that day, nothing less than powerful. And listen to that bass playing! and those lovely backing vocals from Morrissey.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
I love this one - it's like a murder ballad or a folk horror. And his voice is so beautiful.

I've never really thought about who Michael was - I just thought it might be a dramatic version of To An Athlete Dying Young:

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

Today, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears.

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
Interesting to see so much appreciation for this one, I wish I could get into it. One of the very few early Morrissey songs that has never clicked with me. I usually enjoy songs that do the one-note shuffle, but this has always felt like something of a hollow dirge. Makes me feel wet and cold.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I used to think this song was about the late Michael Jackson but now not sure it is.
 

Ryan

Von der Hand, in den Mund
Moderator
Subscriber
The Michael Collins one doesn't feel accurate - I think it was asserted via Hoffman that he died at Béal na Bláth "sports ground", but the historical evidence doesn't refer to it as a sports ground.
Michael Hogan however (Bloody Sunday victim), died literally on a football field - so is a candidate.
That said, Hungerford was only about 15 months old when the single appeared (about 12 months when recorded) - not convinced about that though.
So, yes, ambiguity reigns.

Let's check out another track off it, this is "Michaels Bones".

Ah yes. It's probably too sad for me to tell you what it's really about but, uh... there he lay.

Regards,
FWD.

Under part two, it says:

Question about Raymonde's song "Nobody Holds A Candle To You"

What is the question asked and in what context? This was in 1998, right? And it wasn’t until 2004 or so that Morrissey covered the song? So how come a question about it appeared so early? Or did it in fact debut circa this time live?
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Under part two, it says:

Question about Raymonde's song "Nobody Holds A Candle To You"

What is the question asked and in what context? This was in 1998, right? And it wasn’t until 2004 or so that Morrissey covered the song? So how come a question about it appeared so early? Or did it in fact debut circa this time live?
Pre-song discussion by looks.

Another Fawning Fan:
My name is Travis. My question for Morrissey... hello, Morrissey are you there?
I'm definitely here, yes.
It's Travis from Wilde About Morrissey. How have you been?
I've been really well. I've been really well.
I can barely hear you but I'm going to ask this question and maybe you can answer it. There's a song called "No One Can Hold A Candle To You" by Ray-Mone-Day and there was a rumor that you were going to record that.
That's right. How did you hear the rumor? I'm fascinated to know. How did you hear about it? And they were actually called Raymonde but people would say Raymoande and they were a great group. Do you know anything about them?
I do, it's a b-side, yeah but I can barely, barely hear you.
Yeah, but you've never actually heard the group Raymonde? You've never heard them?
Yes, Ray-mone-day, absolutely.
Have you heard the song?
No, I haven't heard the song. I've heard another song called "Ray-mone-day". It's a really good song.
It's a great song, yeah. I did want to do it. I did want to record it a long time ago. But something happened - something silly and messy and something to do with publishing and so forth, but it's something that I'd still quite like to do. So it just didn't happen because of a silly, messy reason, really, but it's a great song.
Yes it is, I'm sorry, I can barely hear you.
Well, that's okay, I'm not saying anything very intelligent anyway.
We're on track 9 now which is called "I'd Love To" from "My Early Burglary Years". What is this exactly from? Where did you cull this from?
This was another English b-side. In fact, I think it was a b-side here as well. And it's quite a nice romantic song. No, it isn't. It's not romantic. (laughs)
[Morrissey] has been gracious enough to sign some autographs for some contest winners and stuff, including some weird things. What's the weirdest thing that you can say on the radio that you ever had to sign or that you decided to sign?
Well, the weirdest thing I can't say on the radio. But the weirdest thing that I could say on the radio is probably the back of somebody's neck and then the next day I see the same person and it's tattooed.
Oh so they used it sort of like an outline?
Yeah. But that happens very, very frequently.

FWD.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
I love this one - it's like a murder ballad or a folk horror. And his voice is so beautiful.

I've never really thought about who Michael was - I just thought it might be a dramatic version of To An Athlete Dying Young:
That's one of the things which makes this thread worthwhile: it is not just about trying to find out what Morrissey really tried to say or whom the song was about - as interesting as this may be - but also our own interpretation and imagination. Because that's what makes a song resonate with us.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
I love this one - it's like a murder ballad or a folk horror. And his voice is so beautiful.

I've never really thought about who Michael was - I just thought it might be a dramatic version of To An Athlete Dying Young:

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

Today, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears.

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.
Next time you make a long post about something you've never thought about remember to post the gigantic pictures.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Under part two, it says:

Question about Raymonde's song "Nobody Holds A Candle To You"

What is the question asked and in what context? This was in 1998, right? And it wasn’t until 2004 or so that Morrissey covered the song? So how come a question about it appeared so early? Or did it in fact debut circa this time live?
A different version of the cover was recorded in 1997 with different musicians according to PJLM.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
It's stunningly beautiful. The production is absolutely pristine and it's one of his most fragile yet intense vocals.
After this A-Z will be Songs by the Smiths A-Z and after that we could end the A-Z series with Albums by the Smiths and Morrissey A-Z which would include all studio, compilation and live albums.
 
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