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In 1993, guitarist, Johnny Marr, told Select
magazine that he thought this was "the best song" that he had ever heard: "I didn't realise that 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' was going to be an anthem but when we first played it I thought it was the best song I'd ever heard." In the same interview, Marr revealed that the song's intro was lifted from The Rolling Stones' cover of "Hitch Hike
" by Marvin Gaye. The Velvet Underground also swiped this intro for their song, "There She Goes Again
." Marr recalled: "There's a little in-joke in there just to illustrate how intellectual I was getting. At the time everyone was into The Velvet Underground and they stole the intro to 'There She Goes Again' - 'da da-da-da, da-da!' - from The Rolling Stones' version of 'Hitch Hike,' the Marvin Gaye song. I just wanted to put that in to see whether the press would say, 'Oh it's the Velvet Underground!' Cos I knew that I was smarter than that. I was listening to what The Velvet Underground was listening to."
In this song, we find front man, Morrissey, in the passenger seat of a potential romantic partner's car. He pleads with the driver, "Don't drop me home." In fact, Morrissey is so captivated by his company that he goes as far as to say that he would not care if a "double-decker bus" crashed into them, as to die by the side of his sweetheart would be "such a heavenly way to die." This narrative has been compared to the 1955 film, Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean - whom Morrissey idolized.
This song appeared to play and record itself. "We did it at the start of the day," Marr reminisced to NME in 2011. "It was an enjoyable 40 minutes. When we all got together, one-two-three-four, it was the first time all four of us had heard what it sounded like. It was magical. Someone told me that if you listen with the volume really, really up you can hear me shout 'That was amazing' right at the end."
This song is accompanied by a synthesized string arrangement. Morrissey was hesitant to use synthesized strings at first, but due to The Smiths' lack of funds, he eventually came around to the idea.
This song provided the title for a chapter in Irving Welsh's 1993 novel Trainspotting, in which the character, Spud, finds solace in Morrissey's lyrics in face of his own romantic failings. (thanks, Quinn - Toronto, Canada)
In 2005, Morrissey released a live version of this song. His cover of Patti Smith's "Redondo Beach" also featured on the double A-side, which peaked at #11 on the UK chart.
The director of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Danny Boyle, named the segment in which seven young athletes lit the Olympic torch after this song.
In the 2009 film, 500 Days of Summer, this song features during a crucial scene which serves to bring the two main characters together. Tom (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is listening to the song through headphones while riding an elevator with Summer (played by Zooey Deschanel), who overhears the song and comments that she loves The Smiths.
Californian indie band, Dum Dum Girls, Oasis' lead guitarist, Noel Gallagher and Christian quintet, Anberlin have all covered this song. In 1992, Mikel Erentxun released a Spanish reinterpretation called "Esta Luz Nunca Se Apagará." (thanks, Sparrow - Inland Empire, CA)
This was not released as a single until 1992, when it was issued to promote the Best II
compilation album. In 2008, Marr explained to Uncut
magazine why it was not chosen as a single in 1986: "For a long time I worked on the premise that we should always have a song on each album that people said, 'That should be a single.' But in fact really wasn't. 'Reel Around the Fountain
' was that for the first album and 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' for The Queen Is Dead
. I thought it was a sign of a really great album that there was a track that everyone wanted as a single, but you had stronger singles instead."
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