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A Musical Slaughter: The delicious Meat is Murder by The Smiths
& the Birth of a Vegetarian Anthem!

The Smiths - Meat Is Murder

For #turntabletuesday curated by +walt sprinkle and for #vinyl by +Shane Remington for British deathmatch with +Andrew Westbury

What we have here is ‘the long awaited’ 33 1/3 rpm (2011) 180 gm audiophile quality reissue vinyl of the ORIGINAL UK version Meat is Murder remastered by Johnny Marr off of RHINO Vinyl ( This was both their 2nd album from 1985 (as well as title track) and the ONLY album of The Smiths to reach #1 on the UK charts. The album cover designed by Morrissey is actually the poster of Emile de Antonio’s In the Year of The Pig, with the insignia “Make Love Not War" changed. The US version eventually contained their b-side smash ‘How Soon is Now’ (which many have put forth is the best single of all time). This reissue does NOT and is faithful to the original UK version. ( do not buy this reissue vinyl if you want the hit How Soon is Now)
And so they came during the 80’s (1 if by land 2 if by sea) marking the end of synth-pop and New Wave invasion and the beginning of indie guitar rock in Britain and the world. Morrissey, the chief lyricist in the band, became famous crafting brilliant, witty, even humorous melodies and lyrics about the everyday man as well as 'the pedestrian' (Girlfriend in a Coma, Some girls Are Bigger Than Others) with a subtle use of irony that garnered the band a cult status and eventually himself iconic status (As one writer notes, ‘it usually takes a singer to die before they become this kind of legend’.) The second album was increasingly ‘political’ as were Morrissey’s activities IRL. And the title track here, Meat is Murder, is very controversial. Appearing militant and oppressive to many and standing in extreme opposition to the slick musical styling’s of their hit How Soon is Now The Smiths "How Soon Is Now?" the track Meat is Murder is often ignored off this album by critics and dismissed by fans.

But what we have here is the heart and soul of Morrissey and The Smiths (Marr has stated that this song is his proudest moment and many vegetarian have credited this song as showing them the light). Gone is the humor, the dry brittle wit and the brilliant irony that dominated their complex work—the light ditties and sweet charming melodies that slid in their venomous sting. Here, so uniquely, is Marr and Morissey’s take on ‘animal cruelty’ with their heart and passion laid bare, like an open wound. This is Morrisey’s conviction and it reads or ‘hears’ like a musical treatise. If words can persuade and music can influence (which it can and does), then this is Morrissey’s conviction if not plea: Meat is Murder. Do you believe him?

The opening intro is a masterpiece of terror (have you heard musical terror?) This is not Friday-the-13th kind of slasher terror. This is another kind of terror all together. This is real-life death or shall I say murder…Morrissey and the Smiths place you THERE in that surreal place just before… like a death row inmate walking the long mile. That strange sort of other-worldly sound you hear is the slightly off intonation or unusual harmonies and eerie dissonance occurring from Marr strumming a genius riff in open G (open tuning). Then a chorus of ‘noise’ enters—distant moaning sounds of cattle (the terror awaiting you), slices of the knife (the scavengers circling carrion overhead) and industrial utterings of mechanized organized killing– and finally at long last -Morrissey’s deadly calm almost angelic voice hovers just above --poised and ready --to lull you into the slaughter with these words…

A heifer whines
Could be human cries
Closer comes the screaming knife…

Laboring, plodding rhythms continue and pull the listener on, like an exhausted animal giving up the fight. Marr’s guitar continues to slide in and out of pitch. And as you, the listener, finally succumb to what you know is inevitable, Morrissey’s once calm voice has turned increasingly tense, frantic and he begins to ask, do you know how animals die?

and then cry,
this beautiful creature must die
this beautiful creature must die…
as you savor the flavor of murder

then begging,
It’s death for no reason, A death for no reason is MURDER.

and then finally screaming at the end…

The lyric Its murder is in all caps on the sleeve of the album (see lyrics included) ending not with an exclamation point but with a period. It’s a statement. There is no longer any question. The Smiths (and the composition) reach their musical conclusion. The last sound you hear is the final slash of the knife and then…the sound of silence. (see Cage - silence is music - 4 min 33 secs) This musical Dies Irae is complete. And with this end Morrissey pleads his case and delivers his vegetarian anthem into the world. You may or may not be convinced that meat is murder… but there is little doubt after first hearing this.. that you have just heard a musical slaughter. It is both terrifying and hauntingly beautiful.

#Meatismurder #TheSmiths #thesmiths #morrissey #music #vinyl #recordcollection #indierock #guitar #vegetarian #welovemusic #animalcruelty #musicology #britain #brittish #UK #brittishmusic #goth #newwave #melodicpop #musicalmurder
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I can't get any more jealous than I am right now..... That is awesome!!
I need to book it home for lunch and get my selection ready #SQUEEEEEEEE
Saw this at a local shop, Papa Jazz, in Five Points, Columbia SC yesterday...they also had a Smiths Complete CD box!
Sorry but the best song on this album isn't "How Soon is Now," but "That Joke Isn't funny Anymore." Best Smiths' song ever!
yeah, it's definitely controversial :)
And again, REAL Smiths fans know "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" is the best track on the album.
I just said controversial. did you read above?
+lane langmade - No, it's tax time here in the US, and I can't spend anything during April, and may even need May to recover!!! ;)
+lynn langmade it was one of those things where i was responding to your comment before yours came in!
Nice write up, +lane langmade . The Smith's were pretty good, I was way into their messages other than vegetarianism back in the day. +lynn langmade dunno if it's their best, but it reminds me of high school with a big smile.
If you are talking British deathmatches, there is only one band that matters...
+Brad Buckmaster not only is it their best, but Johnny Marr actually claimed it was one of, if not his favorite song, they ever wrote :D
LOVE this album!! great write-up!!
+Brad Buckmaster well musically its just very strong.. the open tuning alone is extremely difficult and takes a skilled guitarist and to me established them as serious musicians...What do you think is their best? Who is the only band... hmm let me see does it start with a B??? And i know that Vegetarianism is not for anyone but what i think is cool about it.. is that they opened up the dialogue with it? I always think debate is good and healthy!!!
Yes! +Korry Hill!! you do! Awesome!! So glad we love them together! Do you have a TT post today?
I have to say that The Smiths didn't write one mediocre song. Every album, front to back, I know the words to every one of them. I can't say which is the best album, all I can say is that they are one of the best bands of all time. And that, from me, can only be said when you can prove yourself on stage and have the same power and delivery. The Smiths are one of those bands to me....
+Shane Remington it is so so true! everything you just wrote. They did prove themselves on stage.. their live is even better than their recorded.
+lane langmade Buzzcocks? They were cool (JUST KIDDING, not about Buzzcocks, but about "B"). I was referring to a tagline about the Clash. "The Only Band That Matters" emblazoned many a t-shirt in those days. It was thrown around quite a bit when they were around. I can't say every song is a gem (Sandinista really should have been 10 to 12 songs, not 36), but their music at times touched me quite deeply, particularly the guitar riff in "Police and Thieves". I wore out an LP and 2 tapes before I heard of it referred to as the "lost chord", which describes it perfectly. I'd post but I don't have any vinyl of them anymore...
+lane langmade well, again, not to get too controversial, but it would be interesting to think about why so many musicians are loud and proud vegetarians. Clearly there is a history in England of being light years ahead of the U.S. in terms of this whole meat is murder thing. But honestly, tons of famous American musicians/bands are also veggies: almost every single Beatle, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir from The Dead, Elvis Costello, Joan Jett, Kate Bush, Chrissie Hynde, Billy Idol, SusannahHoffs, Kirk Hammet of Metallica, SteveVai, members of FNM , Siouxsie Sioux, Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, Robert Smith of The Cure, Sinead O’Conner, KD Lang, Prince, Moby, Henry Rollins, Lenny Kravitz, Melissa Etheridge, Natalie Merchant, PJ Harvey, Sarah McLachlan, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Sting, Shania Twain, Seal, Fugazi, Wu Tang Clan, Erykah Badu, and Outkast's Andre 3000. Oh and music mogul Russell Simmons is a huge promoter of vegetarianism. Heck, even Michael Bolton is down with the veggies. So The Smiths kinda broke this issue, but the whole industry is saturated with people sympathetic to the cause.
OMG there is a +Doug DeTraz siting! <grin> just kidding.. thank you so much. And i can dig what you're saying.. they are NOT for everyone. If you like it 'hard' most of the time then they would not be a band one could get into. But yeah.. agreed. Have to respect them for sure!
+Shane Remington okay, since you said The Smiths are one of the best bands of all time and that they never wrote a bad song, I'm wondering why you're not already in my circles???
+lane langmade totally disagree. Smiths are totally hard. PJ Harvey once laughed when people suggested she wasn't "hard." and she scoffed saying that you can be so much "harder" with a whisper than with a "scream." Oh and seriously, that freaking chain saw grinding as a musical motif in "Meat in Murder" has got to be one the scariest hardcore things I've ever heard in music.
+Brad Buckmaster i was talking about the beatles! Are you serious with the Clash? Seriously. That was my first EVER #TurntableTuesday post! ask +Andrew Westbury. I posted my first 45 and first record ever which was the clash! And then me and +Sam Weinstein had a moment about seeing then live with the Ramones! I can't believe this.. so glad i have met you!
+lynn langmade stop it! Truly you have stumped me with this musicians are veggie list. I mean i knew about The McCarntey of course and Rollins but holy smokes.. kirk hammet? Michael Jackson? NO WAY!!
+lane langmade I'll DEFINITELY go find that post. (I knew you were talking about the Beatles, but I just couldn't resist, my dry comments don't go so well with no spoken context sometimes). I truly envy you for seeing the Clash live, I lived in Montana when they were together (they actually had quite a few fans where I lived, it was a college town). Don't get me started on the Ramones, just listened to their debut album on the way to work, they also had a live album that
I thought was studio, amazed me...
+lane langmade oh yeah, if you can believe it McCartney wasn't the first, but the third Beatle to give up meat. John Lennon gave it up first, then George Harrison. Harrison stopped eating meat in 1967 after his spiritual conversion when he went to India .
well i just say that +Adrian Rodriguez because much like our friend Morrissey here, you have a razor sharp wit and finely tuned sarcasm! i can't tell if you're pulling my leg. Much like The Buckmaster +Brad Buckmaster :0
ok +lynn langmade that's some pretty cool Beatles history! Who knew.. but i wonder what your positing here with 'musicians' as vegetarians???
+lane langmade not positing anything with regards to musicians and vegetarians. I'm simply noticing a correlation and asking what could be the reason for it, although correlation shouldn't be confused with causation.
i know.. but its really crazy.. to see that long list? I'm wondering about it and thought you knew the answer +lynn langmade What do you think it means? I mean can one say the same about artists or writers? What does it mean???
+lane langmade I don't think you can say the same thing about any other "celebrity" group. Musicians are disproportionately invested in this issue. My guess is that it has to do with feeling and empathy, but I don't want to go that far because i would have to engage in some kind of hasty generalization and suggest musicians are just more empathetic than other groups. Also probably, intelligence plays a role. Morrissey is a friggin' genius and so are many of the musicians listed in that group, like Lennon, Moby and PJ Harvey
Well its very curious to me.. i'm actually going to go do a search on it? +lynn langmade and see if Google the oracle can supply any answers...
+lane langmade Moby just isn't a "veggie." He did an entire album entitled Animal Rights He's a die-hard vegan.
yeah no.. i know. i just say veggie to speak to the whole group.. some affiliation to the issue, group or cause. +lynn langmade but dude its a long list and that is really crazy
okay, +lane langmade what I meant by that is that in terms of how vocal he is about animal rights, Moby, who is related to Herman Melville who wrote one of two books usually listed as The Great American Novel, is like the American equivalent of Morrissey. He's strident and even militant about it.
haha +Adrian Rodriguez lol.. umm she was just over in fact for Easter and we also meet online and do stuff! Why do you ask? I tell you though we never get tired of shooting the $#I+ together! +lynn langmade is the most interesting person i know? She also just happens to be my twin. Ok FOC is also pretty darn smart too and he doesn't bore me either... rambling...
back to you +lynn langmade seriously that's what i love about these posts is that i have actually learned something new today which i will be investigating further.. .thanks for leading me there!
yeah i know.. and everyone will think i'm just saying that because you're family.. but seriously i would go insane with boredom without you +lynn langmade
+lane langmade holy super mega post it took me about twenty minutes to read through the post and comments.. :DD but read it I did. Never heard of this musician. I might have to take a listen even though I am carnivorous... :D +lynn langmade I wonder if all those people you listed are truly vegetarians or band wagon jumpers?? I also think the law of nature applies here the weak get eaten and the strong survive and the law is the law.......(ducking).. :))
+Tom McGowan really? Well its a THEY.. its a band The Smiths.. and then he is Morrissey or the lead singer of this band but eventually went on to do his own solo work as Morrissey! LOL and +Andrew Westbury called it the mega post. Thank you so much for reading it! :) And i might add you don't have to be vegetarian to like the Smiths or this song!!! (this goes back to our whole Wagner discussion) separating the musician/artist from their politics and behavior??
+Tom McGowan thanks for always being brave enough and curious enough to wade into one of these "intellectual" discussions. Um actually there are a lot of other musicians that I didn't list that are or were vegetarian at one time. I didn't list them because I don't consider them serious about the issue. The ones I listed are pretty serious about it.
+lynn langmade I love "intellectual" discussions I have an open mind and I like to learn from more educated people than myself I feel sometimes like I'm back in college. I just threw that out there as a topic for debate. What public people do and say in public are not always what goes on behind closed doors. :)
+Tom McGowan :) and +lynn langmade since taking a G+ break over the last few hours and spending time with the kiddos i have had some time to mull this one over... here is one theory I have come up with.. +lynn langmade has posted the idea that maybe musicians are more empathetic? Ie. music is often more emotional and less intellectual... but another idea that i had was that musicians are often against authority and doing the status quo. Part and parcel of being a musician is to 'rebel' and perhaps being vegetarian is about going against dominant dietary practice in the world? LOL.. just a thought?
+lane langmade that's a good theory :) And what I keep thinking about really is how so many of the musicians on this list are ones who broke ground in music--those who changed the way music was done. It suggests if not a kind of rebellion, a kind of person/mind that thinks outside of the box. Hate that phrase, but i couldn't come up with a better one.
+lane langmade That sounds very possible to me Lane I think artists in general can be anti authority :)
well +Tom McGowan that's why i brought it up earlier.. how many writers are vegetarian and how many artists? That is really the true question.. can either of you think about well known writers and artist who were?
+lynn langmade you are right there.. those groups on the list many are in top 100 of all time... and have produced some of the most provocative work and challenges to ideology.. such as Sinead (tearing up the popes picture) John Lennon.. (peace strike) ...
well i found a list.. +Tom McGowan and +lynn langmade for writers there were some but the list appears to be much smaller, Kafka, Voltaire, both Shelley's, Louisa May Alcott, Thoreau, Shaw.. and of course as +Chris Veerabadran just mentioned Ghandi.
+lane langmade okay, then I think I'm solidifying my opinion on this. I think it's a combination of both "empathy" and the ability to "think differently." :) Lots of scientists "think differently," but you don't see them rushing to become veggies.
Lynn +lynn langmade i think well known or 'famous' artists are even less.. davinci..was all that i immediately recognized but yes so its perhaps a combination of the two? But that then makes me ask.. does this mean of the 3: artists, writers, and musicians that musicians have more of both?
That was a great post and comments, so much to learn from you guys +lane langmade and +lynn langmade . Good to see a long list of musicians and artists are vegetarians. Since their music and works comes from the heart, maybe that is why they are empathetic to others and moral issues. If you guys read Gandhi's book My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi wrote a fine thing about being a vegetarian and how it all starts with Ahimsa, the non-harming of animals. He said only by practicing Ahimsa, he was able to find plenty of truths about life during his long struggle.
+Chris Veerabadran thank you for sharing that with us. I have not read it but now i would like to. I know that he did struggle but eventually became a peaceful person!
+lane langmade and +Chris Veerabadran Gandhi was heavily influenced by Thoreau, not just in his pacifist philosophy, but in his abstention from meat. One of the most famous passages in Walden is this : "Is it not a reproach that man is a carnivorous animal? True, he can and does live, in a great measure, by preying on other animals; but this is a miserable way - as anyone who will go to snaring rabbits, or slaughtering lambs, may learn - and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race who shall teach man to confine himself to a more innocent and wholesome diet. Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilised."
wow +lynn langmade that's a powerful quote.. and i love the connection to cannibalism. That thoreau... and i had no idea Ghandi was affected by him.. truly cool what we have shared today on a Smiths post!
+lane langmade yup. Here's the coolest intellectual genealogy of them all. It goes Thoreau to Gandhi to MLK. cool, huh?
+lynn langmade That is nice to know, another author to read :-). Gandhi will approve your message because that is what he followed never to harm any living creatures and he maintained that all his life. I have read some of Thoreau's works but not too much. I am also reading The Kingdom of God within You by Tolstoy. Gandhi said he began practicing the non-violent movement based on the teachings from Tolstoy's book, who in turn was inspired by Quaker Christians in America "Resist not against evil" philosophy. Later, MLK was influenced by Gandhi to use that principle to fight for civil rights, it is just amazing how it has come full circle.
Here is a quote from Gandhi: "To my mind the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man. "
+Chris Veerabadran okay last I'll say on this cuz I'm getting too academic again, but Gandhi read Thoreau's famous essay on "Civil Disobedience" when he was in Africa. Gandhi said of Thoreau: "Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practice in himself. He was one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced. At the time of the abolition of slavery movement, he wrote his famous essay "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience". He went to jail for the sake of his principles and suffering humanity. His essay has, therefore, been sanctified by suffering. Moreover, it is written for all time. Its incisive logic is unanswerable". "For Passive Resisters" (1907). Again, love that line "Its incisive logic is unanswerable" Gandhi seriously freaking rocked!!!
good question +lane langmade . There are all these theories he would have gone vegan had he lived longer. His son has been vegan for more than 20 years and his wife, Corretta Scott King, is also vegan. Seriously, he just needed a bit more time :D
well i hate to be a debbie down here but +Morrissey was very pro animals but from what i have read not so cool to women. He seemed to support Peta's kakamame sexist 'go naked' campaign without thought for women's issues behind it.
+lane langmade actually that's kinda funny. you know Morrissey famously declared that both women and men bored him and he actually practiced celibacy for many many years. He considered himself to be asexual. But lots of rumors that he was closeted.
right i know that too +lynn langmade that he was rumored to be bi or gay So he's a cool guy but not the best thing ever.
Okay I'm back from googling Lord Byron +lynn langmade he's a pretty good poet sucks he died of malaria at 36 just imagine if he lived a long life.. )I didn't read all the comments but I did read your Gandhi quote and I am moved by it it has me thinking +lane langmade this is getting to be a very deep epic thread I will try and catch up.. :)
+lane langmade no, I actually think he's kind of a jerk. But that doesn't make his views any less correct or that he's any less of a genius. Oh but I freaking loved it when he and Johnny Marr actually publicly forbade Prime Minister David Cameron from liking the Smiths. Hilarious. gotta love how he doesn't pull any punches.
+Tom McGowan what did you say your sign was.. i swear you are not just my uncle Tom but like our brother for sure! I just love you dude. In that cool brotherly way!
+shane holsclaw has beaten it into me.. i don't know why.. i would have never noticed it before him, and now i notice?? Sorry? ( Looks up with hands in air)
+Tom McGowan beautiful i knew it.. it is ALWAYS the water signs... our older sister Tera is a scopio!!
dude i like it +lynn langmade i was not thinking it. Its something very cute he does. Its like he's watching over and protecting or something.. i can't explain it.
+lane langmade We don't need a bean counter "protecting" our threads. We need "adults" engaged in intellectual discussion. I'd rather have a real comment than an OCD moment if you get my drift.
ok +lynn langmade he's not just protecting.. he also validating. He's like stamping it with his seal of approval. Ok.. maybe not or whatever.. but that's how i take it!
+Tom McGowan i'm lMAO at you. you just have me busting up right now! say it again please!!!!
+lane langmade you couldn't be more wrong. trust me, been seeing this for a lot longer than you have. bean counting.
holy $#!+ dude now i'm redacting and +Andrew Westbury has had his way.. bean counting.. you have gone to a new level for sure!!
Umm could be bean counting some people have ego issues ah 127 hehe
I am not saying he does just that some people might do that
+lynn langmade I seriously did read about lord Byron +lane langmade I see what you mean but 100 is nothing not mentioning any name but I have been in some threads that went to like 460ish :)))))))))))))))
look +lynn langmade you can bean count and still have an intellectual conversation. i did bean count today but i can hold it with the best of em!!
actually +lane langmade that's what that 100 comment does. It's a "meta-comment" that adds no value to the discussion and only distracts people away from discussion.
+lane langmade and +lynn langmade it has been a fun and enriching discussion tonight had fun and I am still grinning you are two of my favorite people but I must say goodnight but I look forward to tomorrow.... thank you <3 ... :-))
142 lol :)))))))))))))))))))

Nice one +lane langmade but this is Never dismissed by Smiths followers here in Ireland or the UK. I went to see The Smiths twice, First time was on the first album and the second was on this one. They always played Meat is Murder on the tours. I have seen Morrissey maybe 10 or 11 times now and it gets played about 50% of the time. Nice job +lane langmade
+Andrew Westbury it means a lot that this was your longest TT comment ever maybe or perhaps G+ comment! and i think its very interesting how this post/band has stirred up some issues for you. I truly love hearing about your brittish experience with this band since this was a Britain match and that is/was their country. Their reception here was so different. They were definitely not mainstream here more like college rock for the cool kids and moving into a band that became an obsession of the goths. I do think Morrissey is problematic for a variety of reasons..but think there is no doubt that he was/is a gifted and talented artist if not important figure in social change!
+Keith Dixon hey! What i meant in the post was that the title track "Meat is Murder" is dismissed because of the strident political overtones (vegetarian)! But i did not mean the whole album! Just to clarify and make sure we're on the same page. And r u saying that in UK the TRACK meat is murder is not dismissed over there?
No way +lane langmade It will get airplay from "GOOD" DJ's (Still) and I was only talking about the song and not the album.
well +Keith Dixon what is your position on it? Do you like the song? What about the political overtones/message? And are you vegetarian????
OK no I am not Vegetarian but I understand big time!!! I love the song and play it all the time (there isn't a Smiths song I dont like) I think Morrissey always had a problem with Thatcher and then and later with the royal family (the queen is dead) I love the introduction of rockabilly from Marr was Magic and went so so well with Morrissey and his love for Elvis and all things rockabilly. You can here it on the live album RANK where they go from Elvis "His latest flame in to Rusholme Ruffians" Fantastic +lane langmade The Smiths - His Latest Flame/Rusholme Ruffians (Rank Album Live Footage)
okay, I completely stopped getting notifications for this thread. :(
+ +Brian Spencer sorry didn't get to this because of the massive g+ confusion. Thank you my friend for trying to read it! :) and i hear ya about not being into it back in the day! Hope you are doing well today!
also +Keith Dixon very cool link.. what are your thoughts on Elivs and rockabilly. NOt so into rockabilly preferred psychobilly more!
You see I never got that metal stuff! Everybody in my class was in to metal and I could never understand all that headbanging. I would much prefer to go around with a bunch of gladioli sticking out of my arse pocket. +lane langmade
haha +Keith Dixon well for sure you're not alone right! Smiths were huge there and reasonably accepted here! So lots of guys out there didn't dig metal! :)
Not big on Rockabilly or psychobilly I just like the slant Marr put on it and Morrissey still does that. He did it big time with Southpaw Grammer. I think its more the old Speedway operator style from the 60's. +lane langmade
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