1001 Songs Challenge,  1980s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #627: How Soon Is Now? (1984)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!


The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)

We’re back in the UK today, dear reader, and find ourselves heading north to Manchester to check back in with The Smiths. They previously appeared in 1983 with This Charming Man but as we join the group in 1984 they are working on their second album – Meat is Murder. Prior to its release the group issued a single that did not appear on the album but would become arguably their greatest song – How Soon Is Now? 

How Soon Is Now? sees Morrissey sing the heartrending tale of an individual who is “the son and heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar.” This person is alone but that is not how they want their life to be. They yearn for love and affection from someone but crossing that bridge from their painful shyness to taking a chance with someone is just too much of a chasm to surmount. Instead, they lament their ill fortune of going out alone and coming home alone, a feeling that sadly leaves them wanting to die. 

The guitar riff from Johnny Marr is probably the most famous aspect of How Soon Is Now? but the entire track is beautifully executed. A haunting 6+ minutes depending on which version you listen to, the song showcases the talented trio playing music and merging with Morrissey’s exquisite lyrics and sublime vocals. Considered one of, if not, the best song the group ever recorded, it also left the record label nervous for not being atypical of the band’s material at that time. The availability of various versions of the track are said to have hindered its chart performance but the quality has endured more than 30 years on. Fans of 1998 comedy, The Wedding Singer, may recall Adam Sandler’s Robbie Hart coming home drunk with this song in the background. Well, there are worse songs to drunkenly head home to. Actually, maybe not.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Doors – The End (1967)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)

Ultravox – Vienna (1980)

Don Henley – The Boys of Summer (1984)

The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

Leave a Reply

< Prev
Next >

1001 Songs Challenge #628: Rattlesnakes (1984)

#628 of the 1001 Songs Challenge is Rattlesnakes by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions ...

Further Posts