This first category almost had me throwing in the towel before I’d even started! It took me years to finally come up with my favourite album, to pick one tune as a favourite was a big ask. It had to be a tune that I have loved for many years, it could not be something that had only come to my attention in recent times, especially as I am investigating lots of music these days and obviously tracks here and there stand out but to qualify as a “favourite” song it really needs to be around my head for a long time so I can be sure that my love for it will not fade.
In the end I came up with “What Difference Does It Make” by The Smiths. I was at the tail-end of secondary school when The Smiths were at their height but, and I’m almost ashamed to admit this, I hated them, I just couldn’t get on with Morrissey’s voice. You also have to bear in mind that my music taste at the time was in no way ‘cool’, and I had pretty closed ears to anything slightly out of the ordinary. I hasten to add that my opinion changed radically as I got a bit older and listened properly and they soon became, for me, one of the best bands that have ever put plectrum to string, drumstick to skin or gladioli to back pocket!
However, the one song of theirs at the time I didn’t hate at all, in fact loved, was “What Difference Does It Make”, released at the start of 1984, it was the first time to my ears that Johnny Marr’s insistent jangles sounded fuzzier and harsh, cutting through my indifference and resistance to Morrissey’s dour delivery. It also contains one of my favourite lyrics of any song “Heavy words are so lightly thrown/But still I’d leap in front of a flying bullet for you”.
I still love this song to this day, even though I now know The Smiths back catalogue like the back of my hand, this tune still gives me the musical version of a gentle slap around the chops, the one Smiths song that seems to play less to the head and heart and more to the baser instincts! Here’s a video of it from one of their appearances on Top of the Pops;