Thursday, 21 March 2013
Songs That Saved Your Life: The Art of the Smiths 1982-87 (Revised Edition) by Simon Goddard Review
Songs That Saved Your Life - The Art of The Smiths 1982-87 reveals the stories behind every track (including unreleased out-takes), catalogues all the groups UK television, radio and concert appearances and features interviews with original band members, producers and associates.
As a fan of The Smiths I was very excited to see this getting a 'revised' edition as I'd heard a hell of a lot of good things about the original book.
For once, I wasn't disappointed.
This has got to be one of the best books about the seminal band The Smiths that I have ever read, although it's not without it's faults.
You can tell from the quality of the writing that Simon Goddard absolutely loves who and what he is writing about. That really adds a personal touch to what might have been a quite text heavy and sterile book. In fact, his enthusiasm throughout the book really makes you want to carry on and see what little facts he has dug up next or flick to your favourite song and see how that one came about.
For a book that is detailing a bands work song by song to have the 'let's see what happens next' feeling is a brilliant achievement. I loved reading about the songs I liked and seeing what inspired them or how they were written. I also liked the fact that they even included the bands 'lost' songs as well.
There is an absolute gold mine of information for each and every song that The Smiths created and for a fan, that makes this book positively essential.
If I had to nitpick, there was one thing that I didn't really like and that I thought was a big over sight on the part of Goddard. Shelagh Delaney is mentioned quite a few times in the book but it's only in her last reference that we get any kind of information about her. Considering she was Morrissey's muse so to speak, that information should have been there at the forefront not put as an after thought.
While that did niggle me a bit as a reader and as a fan of the band, the rest of the book is very well written with a ton of emotion and that really gives this book a steady, beating heart at the middle of it.
This book could have been a stale list of their songs with a bit of information here and there but it's not. Thanks to Goddard's skill with his words and his obvious devotion to the band we have what may be the best book written about a truly influential band.
Most definitely an essential purchase for the Smiths fans out there.