Album: Louder than Bombs, 1987
Justification: The Smiths didn’t know it when they released this spry single, clad in a rose-coloured sleeve featuring Warhol muse Candy Darling, but their time was nearly up. It seems amazing now, but a mere three months after ‘Sheila Take a Bow’ gave them the most successful single of their career (#10 on the UK chart), Johnny Marr was to quit and thereby split the band. See? The candle that burns twice as brightly burns half as something something.
And it’s not like they weren’t on a roll either: this single followed three other non-album singles (‘Panic’, ‘Ask’ and ‘Shoplifters of the World Unite’, all of which were gathered up on the Sire compilation Louder Than Bombs for the US market) before the band recorded their final album Strangeways, Here We Come. And, in my opinion, it’s possibly the perfect Smiths song: Morrissey’s lyric is at once narky (“Is it wrong not to always be glad?”) and jubilant (“Throw your homework onto the fire, and go out and find the one that you love”), while Marr’s playing mixes two quintessentially British musical styles – music hall and glam rock – into an astonishingly coherent whole. And wanky music-journalistitude aside, who among us has never longed to heed Mozza’s exhortation to “kick the grime of the world in the crotch, dear”?