The Smiths - Middlesbrough Town Hall
20 years ago The Smiths played Middlesbrough Town hall. I didn't go because I wasn't really into the Smiths at the time. A fellow student who I fancied was going so I got a copy of "The Queen is Dead" to impress her.
Although this act of devotion failed to have its desired effect, it did introduce me to The Smiths, who I have followed devoutly ever since. In 1986, the band were at the top of their game, with The Queen is Dead destined to be classic album. Within a year or so, the band would split up after one more album and a clutch of singles.
The Queen is Dead is certainly the Smiths' best collection of songs but it sounds as if it was recorded in a cotton wool factory. I thought at the time that it was my dodgy WH Smiths C90 tape but it turns out that it was Johnny Marr's cloth ears that were to blame. To hear how it should have sounded, look out for "I know it's over" on Rank, "There is a light that never goes out" on Channel 4's The Tube and "Vicar in a Tutu" on Whistle Test on BBC2.
"There is a light that never goes out" has been covered many times, including versions by Neil Finn, The Divine Comedy and The Magic Numbers.