Handsome Devil

Album: Hateful Of Hollow (1984)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Handsome Devil" has lyrics by lead vocalist Morrisey (ie Steven Patrick Morrisey) and music by the band's guitarist Johnny Marr. It appears on the November 1984 compilation album Hateful Of Hollow having been recorded originally for a John Peel session at the BBC, May 31, 1983.

    This uptempo track has a great rhythm, but the lyrics caused controversy, albeit of the manufactured kind. The Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens (1931-95) was a controversial figure whose crusade against child pornography went too far when he made allegations about Satanic ritual abuse, indeed he was one of those responsible for the Satanic panic of the 1980s. In 1984, he presented a dossier which was said to have named many of the high and mighty as paedophiles to the then Home Secretary. Three decades later, this nonsense resurfaced after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

    It was therefore not surprising that Dickens would claim this song was about paedophilia, but the September 3, 1983 issue of New Musical Express quoted Morrisey thus on a tabloid smear article: "This piece makes me out to be a proud child-molester and I don't even like children. 'Handsome Devil' is entirely directed towards adults." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England

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