Home > 1980s, All - Songs, Tracks & Music, Alternative & Indie, Genre > The Smiths – Suffer Little Children (1984)

The Smiths – Suffer Little Children (1984)

Quite simply one of the most remarkable and powerful records ever made and one which provokes strong personal memories.

The song captures Morrissey’s reflections on the Moors Murders perpetrated by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between 1963 and 1965.

When it was released (as an album track and B-Side), there was an extraordinary outcry that The Smiths were trying to “cash in” on the tragedy of the Moors Murders …. ultimately this was defused by the subsequent friendship between Morrissey and Leslie Ann Downey, the mother of one of the victims.

For me, the summers of 1985 and 1986 were memorable for driving my mum around various places in Lancashire and the Lake District. Previously diagnosed with breast cancer, she developed a massive love of The Smiths who were my favourite band. On visiting some rather po-faced old friends of hers, the issue of the motives behind “Suffer Little Children” came to the fore and she insisted that I recover the cassette from the car so that they could actually hear the song themselves for the first time. If I recall correctly, they changed their point of attack from Morrissey’s commercial motives to the merits of his perceived tuneless warbling ….

For whatever reason, she never chose to see these friends again and she subsequently died at the age of 56 in the Spring of 1988.

This is one of the songs I remember her by …. unimpeachable.

You might sleep, but you will never dream

Oh Manchester, so much to answer for

The LP version and then an earlier demo from the Troy Tate sessions.

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