Rank(ed)! The Smiths’ 50 Greatest Songs

Does the mind rule the body, or the body rule the mind? Songs that wrestle with that conundrum and more, as featured in the new issue of MOJO.

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FROM TEENAGE BEDROOMS to the other side, via sinister pedagogues, Victorian prisons and the smog-laden mysteries of the north, The Smiths songs covered a lot of ground.

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The cover of MOJO 272, on sale in the UK from July 28, 2016.

And that’s just the lyrics. Creating entire worlds within three minutes with their intricate jangles and enveloping atmospheres, the partnership of Morrissey and Marr (keenly aided by rhythm twins Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke) was one of rock’n’roll’s truly special ones.

In the new issue of MOJO (August 2016 / #273), on sale in the UK from July 28, we celebrate The Smiths’ unique universe by presenting their 50 greatest songs.

Our writers delve deep into the mists and meanings behind the band’s singular vision to provide illuminating new commentaries on The Smiths’ back catalogue, aided by contributions from Elbow’s Guy Garvey, Richard Hawley and The Decemberists, while there are also interviews with former band members, a look at Johnny Marr’s forthcoming memoir and an exclusive set report from the new Morrissey biopic (you heard it here first!).

Also our free CD celebrates the group’s indie legacy with 15 tracks of the finest independent music from 2016.

Get the new issue of MOJO for the full Hatful, but for now check out MOJO’s bare-bones rundown of The Smiths’ 50 Greatest Songs.

50. Barbarism Begins At Homefrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

50. Barbarism Begins At Homefrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

MOJO SAYS: The chic Birth of Madchester!

49. AskSingle, 1986

49. AskSingle, 1986

MOJO SAYS: Glasnost for the shy or warning of nuclear winter?

48. Cemetry Gatesfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986

48. Cemetry Gatesfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986

MOJO SAYS: A joke at Morrissey’s own expense and therefore to be treasured.

47. Meat is Murderfrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

47. Meat is Murderfrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

MOJO SAYS: The slaughterhouse four lay out their leader’s animal rights manifesto.

46. Is It Really So Strange?Sheila Take A Bow B-side, 1987

46. Is It Really So Strange?Sheila Take A Bow B-side, 1987

MOJO SAYS: A happy family snap before the divorce.

45. Nowhere Fastfrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

45. Nowhere Fastfrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

MOJO SAYS: Forgotten upbeat sounds for forgotten uptight souls.

44. Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Beforefrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

44. Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Beforefrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

MOJO SAYS: A darker aspect to Moz’s mind as he explores booze, bruises, and Buddhist mass murders.

43. Suffer Little Childrenfrom The Smiths, 1984

43. Suffer Little Childrenfrom The Smiths, 1984

MOJO SAYS: They’ve written a song about what!? It works because it really shouldn’t work.

42. You've Got Everything Nowfrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

42. You've Got Everything Nowfrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

MOJO SAYS: Job-dodging Moz with a bitter eye on how the other half ‘get on’.

41. I Want The One I Can't Havefrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

41. I Want The One I Can't Havefrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

MOJO SAYS: The 1980s chilly social climate, set to music: “These are the riches of the poor…”

40. This Night Has Opened My Eyesfrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

40. This Night Has Opened My Eyesfrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

MOJO SAYS: Arguably the gloomiest Smiths song of all, and the most neglected.

39. Pretty Girls Make GravesI Started Something I Couldn't Finish B-side, 1987

39. Pretty Girls Make GravesI Started Something I Couldn't Finish B-side, 1987

MOJO SAYS: Moz loses heart – and erection? – in this early bout of sexphobia.

38. These Things Take Time from Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

38. These Things Take Time from Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

MOJO SAYS: Illicit love song trembles on the brink of fulfilment.

37. I Started Something I Couldn't Finish from Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

37. I Started Something I Couldn't Finish from Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

MOJO SAYS: The guitarist’s ever-lonelier toil rewarded with a glam-rocking Number 23 single.

36. Rubber Ring The Boy With The Thorn In His Side 12-inch B-side, 1985

36. Rubber Ring The Boy With The Thorn In His Side 12-inch B-side, 1985

MOJO SAYS: All at sea with Gielgud, a Swedish psychic and a time-travelling Smith.

35. JeaneThis Charming Man B-side, 1983

35. JeaneThis Charming Man B-side, 1983

MOJO SAYS: Updating Shelagh Delaney to comment on Thatcherite Britain.

34. Shakespeare's SisterSingle, 1985

34. Shakespeare's SisterSingle, 1985

MOJO SAYS: The Smiths at 500mph, and completely unstoppable.

33. Rusholme Ruffians from Meat Is Murder, 1985

33. Rusholme Ruffians from Meat Is Murder, 1985

MOJO SAYS: Boys and girls come out to play as West Side Story hits South Side Manchester.

32. LondonShoplifters Of The World Unite 12-inch B-side, 1987

32. LondonShoplifters Of The World Unite 12-inch B-side, 1987

MOJO SAYS: Crap-or-bust challenge to the back bedroom set.

31. What Difference Does It Make?Single, 1984

31. What Difference Does It Make?Single, 1984

MOJO SAYS: The end of the beginning.

30. Half A PersonShoplifters Of The World Unite B-side, 1987

30. Half A PersonShoplifters Of The World Unite B-side, 1987

MOJO SAYS: Morbid, pale, 16, clumsy, shy: Morrissey as teen stalker.

29. Well I Wonderfrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

29. Well I Wonderfrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

MOJO SAYS: For when There Is A Light… is too life-affirming.

28. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Othersfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986

28. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Othersfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986

MOJO SAYS: Both funny strange and funny ha-ha: two of The Smiths’ greatest qualities.

27. Handsome DevilHand In Glove B-side, 1983

27. Handsome DevilHand In Glove B-side, 1983

MOJO SAYS: Seditious flip-side to the group’s first official release.

26. I Won't Share Youfrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

26. I Won't Share Youfrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

MOJO SAYS: And so, this is how it ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.

25. Accept Yourselffrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

25. Accept Yourselffrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

MOJO SAYS: Self-help shimmy for the Forever Ill.

24. Death Of A Disco Dancerfrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

24. Death Of A Disco Dancerfrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

MOJO SAYS: Beautifully valedictory. And, on piano, Morrissey’s sole instrumental contribution to The Smiths.

23. A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Oursfrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

23. A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Oursfrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

MOJO SAYS: In a ghostly fashion and sans guitars, so commences their swansong.

22. AsleepThe Boy With The Thorn In His Side B-side, 1985

22. AsleepThe Boy With The Thorn In His Side B-side, 1985

MOJO SAYS: Suicide never sounded so inviting.

21. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymorefrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

21. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymorefrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

MOJO SAYS: A corrosive kind of ending.

20. Girl AfraidHeaven Knows I’m Miserable Now 12-inch B-side, 1984

20. Girl AfraidHeaven Knows I’m Miserable Now 12-inch B-side, 1984

MOJO SAYS: A sour vignette of teen romance.

19. The Headmaster Ritualfrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

19. The Headmaster Ritualfrom Meat Is Murder, 1985

MOJO SAYS: Now that’s how to begin an album!

18. The Boy With A Thorn In His SideSingle, 1985

18. The Boy With A Thorn In His SideSingle, 1985

MOJO SAYS: A melodic Morrissey lashes out at a world refusing to let him bloom.

17. Stretch Out And WaitShakespeare’s Sister 12-inch B-side, 1985

17. Stretch Out And WaitShakespeare’s Sister 12-inch B-side, 1985

MOJO SAYS: Morrissey’s unusually contemplative take on sex and sensuality.

16. Shoplifters Of The World UniteSingle, 1987

16. Shoplifters Of The World UniteSingle, 1987

MOJO SAYS: Durkheimian psych-rock gazumps original A-side You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby.

15. Bigmouth Strikes AgainSingle, 1986

15. Bigmouth Strikes AgainSingle, 1986

MOJO SAYS: Not just a comeback masterclass, but maybe the greatest rock single of the 1980s.

14. I Know It's Overfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986

14. I Know It's Overfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986

MOJO SAYS: For the quiet ones – an allegory of suicide.

13. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I WantWilliam, It Was Really Nothing B-side, 1984

13. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I WantWilliam, It Was Really Nothing B-side, 1984

MOJO SAYS: The Smiths’ most compact song: a heartwrenching invocation for a better life.

12. Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Mefrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

12. Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Mefrom Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987

MOJO SAYS: The final crescendo before the liner sinks.

11. Back To The Old Housefrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

11. Back To The Old Housefrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

MOJO SAYS: The Smiths unplug for John Peel session.

10. Still Illfrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

10. Still Illfrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

MOJO SAYS: There’s more to life than album versions, you know?

9. Hand In GloveSingle, 1983

9. Hand In GloveSingle, 1983

MOJO SAYS: The self-produced debut, memorably clothed in an image from Margaret Walters’ book The Nude Male.

8. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable NowSingle, 1984

8. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable NowSingle, 1984

MOJO SAYS: Le Misérable opens to much acclaim – as Job Centre tristesse leads to abstinent anthem gold.

7. PanicSingle, 1986

7. PanicSingle, 1986

MOJO SAYS: Morrissey’s controversial “tiny revolution” turns pop music into a matter of life and death.

6. William It Was Really NothingSingle, 1984

6. William It Was Really NothingSingle, 1984

MOJO SAYS: Marr’s first conscious aim at the perfect three-minute single, brilliantly realised.

5. Reel Around The Fountainfrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

5. Reel Around The Fountainfrom Hatful Of Hollow, 1984

MOJO SAYS: Indie-rock inversion of the power ballad – lighter-wielding extroversion replaced by equally powerful introspection.

4. This Charming ManSingle, 1983

4. This Charming ManSingle, 1983

MOJO SAYS: A sound like wedding bells for the first perfect Moz & Marr union.

3. There Is A Light That Never Goes Outfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986

3. There Is A Light That Never Goes Outfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986

MOJO SAYS: Sing-along anthem from The Other Side.

2. The Queen Is Deadfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986)

2. The Queen Is Deadfrom The Queen Is Dead, 1986)

MOJO SAYS: This was England... It still is.

1. How Soon Is Now?William, It Was Really Nothing 12-inch B-side, 1984

1. How Soon Is Now?William, It Was Really Nothing 12-inch B-side, 1984

MOJO SAYS: A dark nightclub of the soul.