Tuesday, November 27, 2012


YEAR:  1990
LABEL:  Sire
TRACK LISTING:  Piccadilly Palare,  Interesting Drug,  November Spawned a Monster,  Will Never Marry,  Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference,  The Last of the Famous International Playboys,  Ouija Board Ouija Board,  Hairdresser On Fire,  Everyday Is Like Sunday,  He Knows I'd Love To See Him,  Yes I Am Blind,  Lucky Lisp,  Suedehead,  Disappointed
IMPRESSIONS:  Somehow I'd totally missed the Smiths the first time around.  It was the music of solo Morrissey I encountered first here on this oddball collection I got from the BMG Music Service back in 1990.  And I quite enjoyed the rococo songs herein and found myself spinning them fairly frequently.  Also my mother was a fan.  It wasn't until years later that my dear wifey Lisa* gave me pretty much the entire recorded output of the Smiths.  However, it is with my wifey that my favourite story about Morrissey occurs -- and my one degree of separation with the nutball.  {I hope I get the story right; I haven't heard you tell it in years so let me know if I get it wrong, dahling.}  Lisa* and some friends were waiting in line to see Morrissey but La Mo was very, very late.  When he pushed his way through the waiting crowd without making eye contact or apologizing or doing anything other than acting surly, my Lisa*, in order to express her displeasure, started yelling "JOHNNY MARR!  JOHNNY MARR! JOHNNY MARR!" and instituted a chant amongst the throng.  Love it!  And hey, I love this compilation cd too.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  Piccadilly Palare,  Interesting Drug,  November Spawned a Monster,  Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference,  The Last of the Famous International Playboys,  Ouija Board Ouija Board,  Hairdresser On Fire,  Everyday Is Like Sunday,  Yes I Am Blind,  Suedehead,  Disappointed
GUEST ARTISTS:  Graham "Suggs" McPherson (vocals on "Piccadilly Palare"),  Kirsty MacColl (backing vocals on "Interesting Drug")
FACT SHEET:  BONA DRAG is a 1990 compilation cd of songs selected from Morrissey's previous solo albums dating from between 1987 to 1989; this is not a greatest hits compilation but is a sampling of his non-album singles and b-sides.  During this period, Morrissey focussed on releasing singles that were stand-alones and not from any album; it was this cd which collected some of them (and other material) onto an album for the first time.  This change in "policy" occurred after the release of Morrissey's 1988 album "VIVA HATE" when the artist decided that, rather than produce a follow-up album he would release a string of singles before working on the next album.  Thusly, Morrissey released top ten hit singles "The Last of the International Playboys" and "Interesting Drug" followed by "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" throughout 1989.  Soon realising that he would not in fact be able to put together an entire album of new material soon enough, Morrissey scrapped this strategy and decided to put together a compilation album of singles and b-sides instead.  In May 1990, he released the single "November Spawned a Monster" and the following October released the single "Piccadilly Palare" and the "BONA DRAG" album on the same day.  The album contains the strongest material from Morrissey first three years as a solo artists including "Suedehead" and "Everyday Is Like Sunday" from the "VIVA HATE" album.  "BONA DRAG" was the first album to break Morrissey into the US charts:  "Piccadilly Palare" and "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" both hit #2 on the "Modern Rock" charts, with "The Last of the International Playboys" hitting #3, "November Spawned a Monster" making #6, and "Interesting Drug" at #11.  Wikipedia states:  "Bona Drag launched Morrissey's career in the US, and in many ways it marked the turning point after which he became less popular in the UK but achieved increasing success in America."  The title "Bona Drag" is "Polari" slang for "nice outfit"; the slang form is highlighted on the opening track "Piccadilly Palare".  The cover photo is taken from Morrissey's video for "November Spawned a Monster"; his shirt was optically altered from black to red.  In 2010, an expanded edition of "BONA DRAG" was released including 6 new bonus tracks of outtakes and different mixes of "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" (edited in the middle section), "Piccadilly Palare" (including an extra verse circulated on bootlegs), "Interesting Drug" (fades into "November Spawned a Monster") and "Suedehead" (edited to remove guitar fade on the intro).  The new edition features Morrissey's jacket changed back from red to the original black again.  I have it not.     

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