The Smiths A-Z: "Asleep"

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
I have a very faint memory of there being some "controversy" around this song in the months after it came out, after a small number of Smiths fans apparently committed suicide. Have I made that up, or does anyone have any kind of press cuttings that relate to it?
Simon Goddard's book suggests as much. It hints that those suicides had taken place across the entire history of the group up to that point rather than after the song was released.
 

Ossie

Human Being









Next up in our Smiths A-Z project is this song, released as a B-side on "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" in August 1985. "Asleep" was also included on the compilation albums Louder Than Bombs and The World Won't Listen.

The song was played live by the Smiths just the once, at the Inverness show in October 1985. (Audio of that included above but it's a painful listen as there's way too much crowd noise, so I've also added a mesmerising Morrissey performance of the song from 2014.)

What do we think?

The wind sound is from a BBC Sound Effects LP. Every now and again it crops up in BBC produced radio plays and I half expect the piano to begin and Morrissey’s voice to interrupt the proceedings.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
I find this song hard to view singularly given it was initially presented as "part" of Rubber Ring.
CDs/compilations happening probably helped cut the 2 songs apart.
Not a frequent play here.
Regards,
FWD.
 

everydayslikesunday

Junior Member
Not a favourite when I first heard it all does years ago because I preferred the more upbeat tracks, but nowdays I really appreciate it's brilliance.
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
"You are sleeping, you do not want to believe. You are sleeping."


“To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.”


“Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
And then leave me alone
Don't try to wake me in the morning
'Cause I will be gone


Don't feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I will feel so glad to go”




Below is a song from an album that the young Morrissey listened to obsessively. The songs intro may have given Morrissey the idea for the atmospheric sounds on Asleep later. Ingrained in his brain, Nico may have been the one singing him to sleep through so many difficult years





“There is another world
There is a better world
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Bye
Bye
Bye
Bye, hmm”
 

The Wild Turkey

Wild T!
Turkerator
I find this song hard to view singularly given it was initially presented as "part" of Rubber Ring.
CDs/compilations happening probably helped cut the 2 songs apart.
Not a frequent play here.
Regards,
FWD.

Kinda surprised that the songs were cut up on
Louder Than Bombs and World Won't Listen.
Don't think it was until The Queen Is Dead
deluxe, that the songs were presented together.
 
I find it hard to write about this song, given how much it meant to me back in 85/86.

Don't listen to it very often these days but when I do, it still has that power, that perfect mix of bleak and beautiful. I know it's a song about suicide but if assisted dying ever becomes a legal thing in the UK, I can't think of a nicer way to go than drifting into the abyss with this playing on headphones... Amazingly powerful pop music.
That saves me typing.

Paradoxically, its the beauty of songs like this which would make me reconsider my decision to leave life.
 
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