The Smiths’ classic 1986 album The Queen Is Dead marked a pivotal moment in the band's history. It was seemingly the beginning of a more intricately-produced period for the short-lived group, with the songs featuring some expanded instrumentation. It also featured a few of their best-known songs, perhaps most notably, "There is a Light That Never Goes Out."
Despite years of reunion rumors, the band has not gotten together since disbanding in the late 80s. That has perhaps fueled the intense growth of their popularity, which has kept their catalog alive.
With a reunion seemingly never going to happen, it’s now up to bands like Ordinary Boys to carry on the music in a live setting.
The Florida-based Smiths tribute has been doing an incredible job of that so far, and will continue spreading the gospel of Morrissey and Marr with a special The Queen Is Dead show at The Jinx on Sat., June 1. They’ll play the album front to back in its entirety, among other classic songs.
“We do it for this one, we do it for Meat Is Murder, and I think the next one we’re going to do this for is Strangeways, Here We Come,” singer AJ Navarrete tells Connect.
“For Queen Is Dead, we’d already chunked out the album. There were just two more songs that we needed to learn. We said, ‘Why don’t we just learn those songs and put together a show where the album is featured?’”
Having already played the majority of the album in their usual live show, most of the work was done, but Navarrete says he found a new appreciation for The Queen Is Dead when they began putting this show together.
“The thing that’s appealing to me about the album, apart from how ridiculously eclectic it is, is also the choice of songs and how they ordered them. Especially how ‘I Know It’s Over’ and ‘Never Had No One Ever’ are two crazy powerhouse ballads. It’s a one-two punch,” he says.
“The song choices in the order that they’re in is special on its own. And obviously, lyrically and musically are two different plateaus that make the album more special.”
Navarrete says that the album stands “neck and neck” for him with Meat Is Murder in terms of his favorite of the four Smiths studio albums.
“Gun to my head, I’m going to pick Meat Is Murder. But if I don’t have to choose, I’d say they’re neck and neck,” he says.
Of course, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” is a particular standout song not only on the album, but in the band’s catalog and legacy. Navarrete says he’s always been fond of it as a vocalist who gets to sing it night after night.
“I love singing ‘There Is A Light’ for a billion different reasons, but the biggest reason of all is that we get the audience involved with that song,” he says.
“Basically what we do is, in the second chorus the band almost stops playing. Our drummer keeps going and we let the crowd sing. That’s a huge thing. They’re waiting for that song.”