The Smiths

This Charming Man

Composed by Johnny Marr / Morrissey

Song Review by

Anyone doubting the appeal of the Smiths clearly hasn't heard this song, both a great single and a highlight of the band's self-titled debut. Right from the get-go it shows how simply, perfectly good Johnny Marr is -- a talented guitarist who instead of showing off the fact distills his abilities towards making memorable, hook-filled tunes, playing with especial fire. A bright, sudden riff from him starts things off, while the Andy Rourke/Mike Joyce almost jumps to attention when the full song begins. Rourke's quick, stuttering bass work is downright danceable, not something perhaps thought of regarding the Smiths most times, but clearly the case here. As always, meanwhile, Morrissey proves the perfect, inspired wild card, down to his sudden wordless yelps. In a voice that theoretically shouldn't work but, in fact, gets it right word for word and note for note, he delivers his tale of the titular character and the cryptic pickup scenario surrounding him with pure panache, nervous and commanding at once. Early Elvis would have approved of the music, Wilde of the words -- an audacious end result by any standard.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1983 Rhino 2:43
The Smiths 1984 Sire 2:41
Hatful of Hollow 1984 Sire 2:42
The Complete Picture 1992 Warner Bros. 2:41
The Best of the Smiths, Vol. 1 1992 Sire 2:42
Singles 1995 Reprise 2:41
Sounds of the Eighties: The Rolling Stone Collection, 1983-1985 1995
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:45
This Is the 80's [Alex] 1996
Various Artists
WEA International 2:41
Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2 1998
Various Artists
WEA International 2:44
Number One 80's 2000
Various Artists
PolyGram 2:44
The Very Best of the Smiths 2001 Warner Music / WEA International 2:43
Platinum 80s 2002
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:45
All the 80's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Bros. / Warner Music 2:44
Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the '80s Underground 2004
Various Artists
Rhino 2:43
I Want My New Wave 2005
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 2:43
Just Say Sire: The Sire Records Story 2005
Various Artists
Rhino 2:43
Classics from John Peel's All Time Festive 50 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:42
Complete 2011 Rhino / Warner Bros. 2:45