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The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life Paperback – December 1, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Songs That Saved Your Life is an essential volume for Smiths fans, a labor of love where the love clearly shows and fanaticism is forgiven." - Spectrum Culture

“An exhaustive look at all things Morrissey...even the most diehard fan is bound to learn something new.” – USA Today’s Pop Candy

“If The Smiths did indeed craft the songs that saved your life, The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life will be the ideal literary companion to your music library.” – Blogcritics

“Goddard’s book is an invaluable resource for Smiths fans who’ve ever wondered where Morrissey’s wordplay came from.” – AV Club

“If you are a Smiths fan and you want to know every single thing about every song they ever wrote, this will become your new Smiths bible!” – Pop Cults --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

One of the seminal groups of the Eighties, The Smiths’ career was as brilliant as it was brief. Now, drawing on interviews with band members, producers, and colleagues, music journalist Simon Goddard presents a meticulous chronological survey of the group’s musical evolution, from their first demos in 1982 to their final fractured studio session five years later. Investigating the stories behind the songs, and detailing every British TV and radio session, he also offers a unique analysis of each track’s concert life. Granted unprecedented access to The Smiths’ studio archives and to the private collection of outtakes and rehearsals retained by drummer Mike Joyce, the author lifts the lid on unreleased material as well as the lost songs and alternate versions that have remained closely guarded secrets until now.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Reynolds & Hearn (December 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903111471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903111475
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,217,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This mammoth undertaking called, The Songs that Saved Your Life is an ultra-detailed extremely meticulous look into the production of virtually every Smiths song in existence. It's simultaneously fascinating and annoyingly detailed.
How much you'll enjoy this book ultimately depends on the depth of your fandom and your interest in the Smiths' musical production.
The Songs that Saved Your Life is engaging and edifying, however, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone.
This book is not for you if:
1. You're only looking for Behind the Music / E! True Hollywood Story type gossip.
2. You're only looking for lyrical interpretations of Smith songs.
3. You're more interested the big picture rather than smaller details.
Despite whatever feelings you may have for Mike Joyce, he actually writes a touching forward for the book -- mind you not as brilliant at Mick Middle's forward for Morrissey's Manchester -- but surprisingly optimistic and celebratory of the Smiths' legacy.
The book lists about 80 Smiths songs in the order of the finished studio mater tape. To say "lists" is a bit of an understatement as The Songs that Saved Your Life is more or less the Encyclopedia Brittanica of Smiths songs.
Not only does it catalog singles and B-sides, it includes detailed information on Smiths songs that have never seen the light of day by the general public. The most famous of these songs is, "A Matter of Opinion" which was uncovered by author Simon Goddard while listening to Mike Joyce's own master tapes in preparation for writing the book.
There are also a number of untitled instrumentals produced by John Porter, Grant Showbiz and Stephen Street that are detailed as well.
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Format: Paperback
If, like me, you believe that The Smiths were the greatest band that ever existed then you don't merely NEED this book, you simply CANNOT LIVE without it! There have been loads of books about The Smiths and Morrissey so far but what's great about this one is the fact that it really goes into the songs and there's so much information that's never been made public before. Not just the unreleased music and lyrics (which is fascinating) but a lot of where Morrissey borrowed lyrical ideas from and who/what inspired them. Like did you know that William It Was Really Nothing was about Billy MacKenzie of The Associates? Or that I Won't Share was about Morrissey's old friend Linder Sterling? Or that I Keep Mine Hidden was Morrissey's personal letter to Johnny Marr as the band was splitting? Well if you didn't you need to read this!
Because every song is listed in the order it was written you really get a sense of how The Smiths grew as a band and how the break up was inevitable. It really makes you want to go back and listen to the songs again and hear new things. Maybe it isn't the sort of book you'd read cover to cover, more as a reference guide, but if you love The Smiths you simply cannot afford to miss out on this. Even if you only quite like them, I think reading this book will really make you appreciate the brilliance of the songs and the lyrics and may well turn you from a partial fan into a raving Smiths maniac!
All in all Songs That Saved Your Life is an awesome book about an awesome band. Like it says on the back cover - apart from the records themselves there is nothing else you need on this subject!
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Format: Paperback
At last an interesting, well documented book about The Smiths, it's important to remark that it's quite objective, it seems with some other books about them (yes, Rogan ones) that the author more than trying to tell the story of this seminal band, is trying to slaughter them as persons.
This book is not about El Mozzer grand parents, nor trying to show him as a fake, or taking part on a 3 way high court war, it's just about what matters: some of the best pop music ever done, how each song developed trough time, adding interesting stories around them.
Oh dear little boys, how empty seems the world since you are not around anymore...
It's a must if you dare to think yourself as someone with taste.
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Format: Paperback
ROMANTIC AND SQUARE IS HIP AND AWARE
by Brier Random
NOW I KNOW HOW JOAN OF ARC FELT: I recently challenged myself to sit down with pen & paper and make a list of the truly great bands of my lifetime, bands that really made a difference in my life. After a few hours, I found myself staring at a sheet of paper with exactly one name scratched on it: "The Smiths".
I remember each step of my Smiths epiphany-- every detail of the first time I heard certain songs: Where I was, what I was wearing, how I was standing. (In the kitchen of 716 De La Vina, boot-cut corduroys and a Bauhaus t-shirt, arms folded, weight slightly shifted on my left leg for "Bigmouth Strikes Again", if you're interested.)
And if the previous paragraph means anything to you, then you should read the new book Songs That Saved Your Life by Simon Goddard. It's a thorough track-by-track examination of every Smiths song ever laid to tape. Goddard chronologically fine-tooth-combs each song's lyrical influences, recording techniques, details on alternate takes, live performance history, and band members' recollections of the songs (including the fact that the three musical Smiths, sans-Morrissey, got incredibly stoned and replaced the studio lights with red bulbs to record the epic How Soon Is Now?). Not just a Smiths-completist's wet dream, anyone who has laid in awe on the bedroom floor while The Smiths poured out of the speakers will consider this book as indispensable as the songs themselves. I literally couldn't put it down until I set it upon a stationary surface.
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