Study Guide

How Soon Is Now? Introduction

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How Soon Is Now? Introduction

In a Nutshell

"How Soon Is Now?" is the Smiths most recognizable song. Some of their hardcore fans may argue that musically, it's neither the band's best nor most representative piece, but even they have to agree that lyrically, the song is pretty typical of Morrissey, the band's lead singer. Whether mocked as the Pope of Mope or celebrated as the voice of the alienated, Morrissey is at his best when exploring his and others' loneliness.

In exploring this common human experience, Morrissey was honoring the Smiths' founding purpose to be a voice for "ordinary" people. But many would argue that the band has never been all that ordinary and that Morrissey in particular neither thinks nor acts like an "ordinary" person.

So, does this mean that the band failed to achieve its "ordinary" ambitions? Were the Smiths instead a band for the extraordinary and uncommon? Or somehow, did the band manage to be both ordinary and unordinary at the same time?

About the Song

ArtistSmiths, The
LabelRough Trade
Writer(s)Johnny Marr, Morrissey
Producer(s)John Porter
Musician(s)Morrissey (vocals), Johnny Marr (guitar), Andy Rourke (bass), Mike Joyce (drums)
Learn to playTablature
AlbumHatful of Hollow

Music Video


Influences on Smiths, The

Johnny Marr
Bo Diddley
Smokey Robinson
Nils Lofgren
Neil Young
Patti Smith

Billy Fury
Joe Meek
Marc Bolan
The New York Dolls
Dusty Springfield
Cilla Black
Marianne Faithful
James Dean
Oscar Wilde

Influenced by Smiths, The

The Libertines
Modest Mouse
Love Spit Love
The Decemberists
Jeff Buckley
The Killers
The Stone Roses

How Soon Is Now? Resources


The Smiths
Andy Rourke, Morrissey, Johnny Marr, and Mike Joyce.

The controversial lyricist of the Smiths.

Johnny Marr
The Smiths' guitarist and composer.

Morrissey's tribute to Oscar Wilde.


The Smiths Fan Site
This is a useful little site. It provides a solid band bio/history, an annotated discography, and a good list of links.

If you want to talk about Morrissey, this is the site for you. It has an extensive photo gallery and a small news archive; but the site exists to give fans a chance to share news and views on Moz.

Johnny Marr Official Site
Marr's official site is loaded with news and tour info, pictures and videos, downloads, and of course, a store.

Video & Audio

"How Soon Is Now?" Music Video
This track was recorded in June 1984.

"Hand in Glove"
The Smiths' first single, released in May 1983.

"The Hand that Rocks the Cradle"
One of the songs that drew charges of pedophilia.

Morrissey Interview
The songwriter talks about his youth in Manchester.

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