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Louder Than Bombs

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Louder Than Bombs is a compilation album by the English rock band The Smiths. It was released as a double album in March 1987 by their American record company, Sire Records. Its highest chart position was number 63. Popular demand prompted their British record company, Rough Trade, to issue the album domestically as well. Upon its release in the UK in May 1987, it reached number 38 on the British charts. In 2003, the album was ranked number 365 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in 1990.


About the albumEdit

The album was released as the American counterpart to their recent British compilation The World Won't Listen and consisted of all singles and nearly all B-sides that had not at that point been available in the States, either on single or album, with a few other tracks added. The title is borrowed from a line in Elizabeth Smart's extended prose poem "By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept".

The album was intended to substitute for both The World Won't Listen and their 1984 compilation Hatful of Hollow as these had not been released in the United States. This is why the non-single track "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" from Hatful of Hollow was included. (Single A-sides "This Charming Man" and "How Soon Is Now?" had already been released in the U.S. as bonus cuts on the LPs The Smiths and Meat Is Murder, respectively.)

As with The World Won't Listen, this compilation includes the scrapped single "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" (passed over in favour of "Shoplifters of the World Unite"), albeit in a different mix.

Because the album offered many B-sides (and the "Sheila Take a Bow" single) that had never been collected onto an album before, Louder Than Bombs became very popular on import with fans in the UK. To avoid high import prices being paid, The Smiths' domestic record company, Rough Trade, decided to release the compilation as well, provoking cries of outrage by fans who only two months previously had shelled out for the slimmer UK counterpart. The blow was somewhat softened by the fact that the double album retailed at single album price.

After WEA acquired the Smiths back catalogue in 1992, all Smiths albums were re-released at mid price, including Louder Than Bombs.


Track listingEdit

  1. "Is It Really So Strange?" (John Peel session, 12/2/86) – 3:04 [B-side of "Sheila Take a Bow"] *
  2. "Sheila Take a Bow" – 2:41 [single A-side]
  3. "Shoplifters of the World Unite" – 2:57 [single A-side]
  4. "Sweet and Tender Hooligan" (John Peel session, 12/2/86) – 3:35 [B-side of "Sheila Take a Bow"] *
  5. "Half a Person" – 3:36 [B-side of "Shoplifters of the World Unite"]
  6. "London" – 2:07 [B-side of "Shoplifters of the World Unite"]
  7. "Panic" – 2:20 [single A-side]
  8. "Girl Afraid" – 2:48 [B-side of "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"]
  9. "Shakespeare's Sister" – 2:09 [single A-side]
  10. "William, It Was Really Nothing" – 2:11 [single A-side]
  11. "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" (US mix) – 3:23 [remix of aborted single A-side] *
  12. "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" – 3:34 [single A-side]
  13. "Ask" – 3:18 [single A-side]
  14. "Golden Lights" – 2:39 [B-side of "Ask"]
  15. "Oscillate Wildly" – 3:27 [B-side of "How Soon Is Now?"]
  16. "These Things Take Time" – 2:23 [B-side of "What Difference Does It Make?"] *
  17. "Rubber Ring" – 3:48 [B-side of "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side"]
  18. "Back to the Old House" – 3:05 [B-side of "What Difference Does It Make?"] *
  19. "Hand in Glove" (single version) – 3:13 [single A-side]
  20. "Stretch Out and Wait" (original version) – 2:38 [B-side of "Shakespeare's Sister"] *
  21. "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" – 1:52 [B-side of "William It Was Really Nothing"]
  22. "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" (John Peel session, 9/14/83) – 3:40 [from Hatful of Hollow]
  23. "Unloveable" – 3:55 [B-side of "Bigmouth Strikes Again"]
  24. "Asleep" – 4:11 [B-side of "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side"]
  • All tracks written by Morrissey and Johnny Marr (including "Oscillate Wildly") except "Golden Lights" written by Twinkle.
  • Tracks marked "*" are exclusive to this compilation.
  • This take of "Stretch Out and Wait" is a different recording from the one that was first released on the British The World Won't Listen compilation. It is the original recording from 1985 with some lyrical variations in the first verse.
  • This mix of "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" is approximately nine seconds shorter than the mix that appears on The World Won't Listen and features some other minor mixing differences.

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