Guitarist and co-songwriter Johnny Marr recalled to Uncut magazine February 2008: "With 'Barbarism Begins At Home,' a lot's been made of the funky aspect of the bassline, but that track harks back to what I was doing with Andy (Rourke) before The Smiths. I guess it came out of this love of retro kind of James Brown records, and things like Rip Rig & Panic and The Pop Group. That period of anemic, underfed white funk. It's me and Andy being townies in Manchester, liking a bit of the American No-Wave thing. James Chance, I guess."
The basis of this song lay in a riff that bassist Andy Rourke had in his head. He told Mojo magazine: "It is the song – I would say it's 80 to 90 percent bassline. I'm into my funk and this was the closest I could get away with. We used to jam along to it for hours and hours, even pre-Smiths. I was into Stanley Clarke, James Jamerson and, I'm almost embarrassed to say it, Mark King from Level 42. I think doing more in that style would have been a terrible idea, though. People would probably have assassinated us."
Amir from NottinghamI've always seen this as an indirect sequel to Hand in Glove, it tells of youths who "won't settle down" and is composed in an ironic cocktail of funk and oppression from the older generations. Plus the "lulululul" bit at the end also sounds a bit like someone being drowned also. Great Song!
Dane from Vancouver, BcA great song. The Smiths showcase some amazing bass/guitar riffs that last nearly seven minutes on this track. One of the best songs on "Meat Is Murder".