I Know It's Over

Album: The Queen Is Dead (1986)

Songfacts®:

  • This song – often cited as The Smiths' "bleakest ballad" - sees a dying man reflect on what he feels was his wasted and lonely life. Many of Morrissey and Johnny Marr's writing sessions for The Smiths involved the pair sitting inches away from each other, face-to-face, while Marr played Morrissey a track on an acoustic guitar, recording it on a tape player between his knees. During one such legendary night in the late summer of 1985 at Marr's home in Bowdon, Greater Manchester, the duo wrote "Frankly, Mr Shankly," "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" and this song.
  • This song was laid down one low-lit evening. Marr recalled to NME in 2011: "We recorded it around about teatime, but England being England it was dark and wet outside. It was very beautiful and it reflected how I felt for a large part of my life, and particularly during that period. But I didn't see a despondency in that, there's an acceptance of melancholia being a part of life, that's why I don't think it's depressing."
  • In 1992, Marr told Record Collector that this was one of his favorite songs on The Smiths' third album, The Queen Is Dead. The guitarist said that he was particularly floored by Morrissey's vocals: "Morrissey's vocal on 'I Know It's Over' - I'll never forget when he did that. It's one of the highlights of my life. It was that good, that strong. Every line he was hinting at where he was going to go. I was thinking, 'Is he going to go there? Yes, he is!' It was just brilliant."

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