Meat Is Murder

Album: Meat Is Murder (1985)

Songfacts®:

  • Morrissey has been a strict vegetarian since his teens and has not been shy about stridently expressing his beliefs concerning animal rights. The title track of The Smiths' second album, this song finds him imploring their fans to abstain from meat.

    Morrissey wrote in his autobiography: "The aspirant moment is the title track. Each musical notation an image, the subject dropped into the pop arena for the first time, and I relish to the point of tears this chance to give voice to the millions of beings that are butchered every single day."
  • The Smiths produced Meat Is Murder themselves, assisted only by engineer Stephen Street, whom they had first met on the session for "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now." Street recalled his contribution to this song in a 2015 interview with Uncut magazine:

    "There was no demo. The chords are quite strange with that song and they wanted to create an atmosphere. So Johnny sketched out the chords, then we marked it out with a click track, put some piano down, and reversed the first notes to creative this oppressive kind of darkness. Morrissey handed me a BBC Sound Effects album and said, 'I want you to try and create the sound of an abattoir.'

    So there's me with a BBC Sound Effects album of cows mooing happily in a field. It was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it. I found some machine noises and put them through a harmonizer and turned the pitch down so they sounded darker and deeper. I did the same things with the cows, to make it spooky. It was like a sound collage. The band learnt how to play it live after we'd recorded it."
  • Bassist Andy Rourke told Mojo magazine "I found the whole song hypnotic. And obviously, the bass dictates the whole way through it. There is Johnny (Marr)'s really eerie piano playing over the top, Morrissey's direction is very strong... it still gives me goosebumps. Of course it a team effort, and some teams are bigger than others."

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