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Songs That Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-87

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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. The definitive edition published by Titan Books in 2013, revised and corrected by the author w 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. The definitive edition published by Titan Books in 2013, revised and corrected by the author with completely new preface, introduction and epilogue and reformatted appendices.


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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. The definitive edition published by Titan Books in 2013, revised and corrected by the author w 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. The definitive edition published by Titan Books in 2013, revised and corrected by the author with completely new preface, introduction and epilogue and reformatted appendices.

30 review for Songs That Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-87

  1. 4 out of 5

    April

    The root cause of my love for these four really dates back to first hearing Frankly Mr Shankly on an old record in 2002 (at which point I'd have been about six years old). After that I pretty much fell in love with each of their songs and the harsh reality of life they presented whilst growing more and more enamoured with Morrissey but well never mind, never mind. I curse myself for not existing during the time when these guys were at their prime; by the time I was able to appreciate them in ful The root cause of my love for these four really dates back to first hearing Frankly Mr Shankly on an old record in 2002 (at which point I'd have been about six years old). After that I pretty much fell in love with each of their songs and the harsh reality of life they presented whilst growing more and more enamoured with Morrissey but well never mind, never mind. I curse myself for not existing during the time when these guys were at their prime; by the time I was able to appreciate them in full Moz was already on his eighth(?) solo album and The Smiths were long gone. As a whole: an excellent chronology for dedicated fans. Interesting to learn about the true "bones" of the songs & what made them work (and what didn't). Notably an impressive focus on the songs themselves as well (instead of lingering on the feuds) with necessary details in between. Its persuaded me to look into purchasing some of the old vinyl records, too (if I can gather the money to do so.) Aside from tiny nuggets of bias – I hold Unloveable near and dear to my heart – Goddard takes a pretty neat perspective and approaches it in a very respectful way. It also encourages the fact that The Smiths really were something beautiful and that they, quoting the book, showed "that pop could be moving, subversive, witty, but above all human." Wonderful to venture into 'Smithdom' again.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tim Chaplin

    This is the perfect book for fans of the Smiths and Morrissey. Every song, concert or TV appearance is listed and it's a great history of The Smiths from the beginning to the bitter end with the royalty disputes, court cases and the beginning of Morrissey and Marr's solo careers. I loved it so much that I have started to listen to the complete collection on Spotify "reissue! repackage! repackage!" (Paint a Vulgar Picture).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    I am obsessed with the Smiths. This is well known. I bought this book (one I've been after for a few years) while in Portland at Powell's City of Books. It's a chronological breakdown of every Smiths song: the where, when, and how of it. Fantastically done, very thorough and with lots of great little stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    A start-to-finish index of all the songs The Smiths ever played or performed. While you can look up individual songs and just read about your favorites, the book read cover-to-cover provides an overarching look of the band's history. Don't expect a narrative, though; each song listing is a separate entry.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Definitely geared towards the hardcore Smiths fan, this book has all the info & stats on every song they ever recorded/performed... We're not getting any new music out of them, so a deeper knowledge of what we have is the next best thing. For the misunderstood teenager in all of us...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Bell

    A MUST FOR EVERY "THE SMITHS" FAN ..... DEFINETELY

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ármin Scipiades

    This one's different from what I expected. I can't really say exactly what I expected, but this isn't it, but that's not a bad thing. Anyhow! This is a precise catalogue of all the Smiths recordings that ever existed, listed in chronological order, with the band's history described sketchily, sort of as a backdrop. There are some anecdotes, but not that many, which just underlines the main message of the book: it's the songs that are important; everything else is secondary. Goddard is a fan, but h This one's different from what I expected. I can't really say exactly what I expected, but this isn't it, but that's not a bad thing. Anyhow! This is a precise catalogue of all the Smiths recordings that ever existed, listed in chronological order, with the band's history described sketchily, sort of as a backdrop. There are some anecdotes, but not that many, which just underlines the main message of the book: it's the songs that are important; everything else is secondary. Goddard is a fan, but his tone is fairly subdued and meausured, and he's often critical of the band, which is cool. While he occasionally touches on the origin and meaning of the lyrics, he does not engage in idle speculation, which was ultimately a relief to me. Ultimately, the book accomplished its goal: I listen to familiar songs with, ah, new ears, I sought out recordings previously unknown to me, and so on. (And I'd like to use the book as a reference book too, but I dunno if I'll have the determination) Oh and, awesome title. Though reputedly it was chosen by the publisher, and the author himself disliked it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Smith

    A thoroughly researched book by someone who clearly loves this band a great deal. The story of The Smiths told through looking at each of their records in chronological order, providing great insight into finest band of their era and the process they went undertook as they achieved immortality. This book makes for great reading if you are a diehard Smiths fan. There is a light that never goes out, and that light shines throughout this book. Long live the genius of Morrissey and Marr!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Wynne

    A must-read for any avid fan of the Smiths- interesting to see Goddard's perspective on events. It's incredible to reflect on the impact and span that the band has had on the music industry considering they were only together for five years. Goddard provides some helpful insights into Morrissey's lyrical content, which I found particularly interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Natálie Kostohryzová

    I really liked listening to each song while reading about the circumstances under which it came to life. All the details about the relationships between group members were also much appreciated! Great read

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura Collins

    Great reference book on all the Smiths songs. Would need to be a hard core Smiths fan to truly enjoy it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

    Simon Goddard's "Songs That Saved Your Life" is a reference guide, not a page-turner. It's a song-by-song recording history and breakdown of The Smiths' discography. I consider myself a big Smiths fan, but I gave up 17% into the book (thanks, Kindle). If you want to know more about the history of a particular recording, this is for you. If you're looking for a coherent history of The Smiths, you should look elsewhere.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I bought this after (like many people my age) my life was turned on its head when i first heard "Bigmouth Strikes Again" and after that i became (almost)crazily obsessed with The Smiths (moreso with the (IMO) alien frontman Morrissey). I have to say this is a beautifully written book both professional in its conviction to not read like the gushing ideas of a strong fan who gathered bits and pieces to fomr his take on what happened, But also in the very human approach to not simply make it words I bought this after (like many people my age) my life was turned on its head when i first heard "Bigmouth Strikes Again" and after that i became (almost)crazily obsessed with The Smiths (moreso with the (IMO) alien frontman Morrissey). I have to say this is a beautifully written book both professional in its conviction to not read like the gushing ideas of a strong fan who gathered bits and pieces to fomr his take on what happened, But also in the very human approach to not simply make it words and sounds by a bunch of englishmen in the 80's. I definitely recommend this for any smiths fan old or new for i think it (along with mozipedia by simon goddard) are essential pieces having to deal with the smiths and probably the most well written as well. Definitely this book will always be among my favorite books i have read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shad

    Being a middle-aged dude and a Smiths fan since I was 15, it was a fun read. Interesting to hear the stories behind the songs and I like how it's laid out chronologically. It made me think about how important it is to listen to an album in its entirety as laid out by the artist. I don't do that like I used to now that I use digital media. Also made me miss liner notes. I wish I hadn't sold all my vinyl in 1993. All in all, I appreciate the book as a fan. The whole thing is like reading a DIY zin Being a middle-aged dude and a Smiths fan since I was 15, it was a fun read. Interesting to hear the stories behind the songs and I like how it's laid out chronologically. It made me think about how important it is to listen to an album in its entirety as laid out by the artist. I don't do that like I used to now that I use digital media. Also made me miss liner notes. I wish I hadn't sold all my vinyl in 1993. All in all, I appreciate the book as a fan. The whole thing is like reading a DIY zine from back in the day. I got a kick out of reading it and am listening to the "Meat is Murder" album as I type.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joe Price

    Exactly what I was hoping it would be, 'Songs That Saved Your Life' will quench the curiosity of even the most extreme fans of the band. Goddard not only explains the songs themes and meanings, but goes into when, where, how, why, and even each tracks effect and achievement. The level of detail is truly incredible. Thanks to Goddard I look at The Smiths in a new light and love them more than ever! I only wish I knew more about the making of music in an attempt to better understand and appreciate Exactly what I was hoping it would be, 'Songs That Saved Your Life' will quench the curiosity of even the most extreme fans of the band. Goddard not only explains the songs themes and meanings, but goes into when, where, how, why, and even each tracks effect and achievement. The level of detail is truly incredible. Thanks to Goddard I look at The Smiths in a new light and love them more than ever! I only wish I knew more about the making of music in an attempt to better understand and appreciate the genius of the band.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jack Beltane

    If you're looking for a gripping Smiths biography, this is not the book for you. There is plenty of "story" behind and between the songs, but the focus here is on how the songs came together and fit into the five-year career of the band. If you're a big Smiths fan or a fan of "the process" of music, you'll love this book. If you want gossip and interviews, you'd be better off looking somewhere else. Me? I loved it. Despite an angle that could be very dry and boring, Simon Goddard kept it interes If you're looking for a gripping Smiths biography, this is not the book for you. There is plenty of "story" behind and between the songs, but the focus here is on how the songs came together and fit into the five-year career of the band. If you're a big Smiths fan or a fan of "the process" of music, you'll love this book. If you want gossip and interviews, you'd be better off looking somewhere else. Me? I loved it. Despite an angle that could be very dry and boring, Simon Goddard kept it interesting and focused and easy to read cover to cover.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kenickie

    I'm a Smiths fanatic so I'm not sure what I was hoping to find out in this book. Not much, really. Although it did lead me to Elizabeth Smart's "By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept", which Morrissey has stolen, sometimes word for word, some of my favorite lyrics of his. Smiths fans - pass on this. Trying to take your Smiths fandom to the next level? Go for it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This book does exactly what any music biography should aspire to: make you enjoy the music more. I've listened to this music for 25 years, so my experience with it was pretty much set in stone. But Goddard's mini-histories of each song brought a fresh perspective to each tune and had me going back and listening to them like the very first time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Drew Athans

    My full and detailed review is on my website: http://rnrchemist.blogspot.com/2014/0... GREAT book...even if you have the first edition (like I do), you MUST get this updated and revised version....it's far superior in almost every way and essential for any Smiths fan.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Harper

    Great, except for two things. Why is it that people always underate Unloveble? And, in that song, Morrissey quotes a published James Dean letter with the lines "I wear black on the outside because black is how I feel on the inside" and "if I seem a little strange, well that's because I am", which Moz biographiers always miss.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Informative and entertaining, this is almost a biography of the band, following the chronological recording of the Smiths' songs, along with a potted history just to give some background. The book follows them song by song, with slightly more emphasis on the music rather than the lyrics. A great read for any fan of The Smiths.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Edwin Gomez

    If you are a Smiths fan this is the ultimate account of how every song was written, recorded and released (or not). It also tells the brief but powerful story of one of the best pop bands of all time. It was written with love and admiration and it was definitely received that way when I read it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    This book brilliantly compiles a chronological encyclopaedia of The Smith's music, performances and television appearances while giving context to some of modern pop-music's most influential music. It's less a biography of a band and more a biography of modern Indie Music's greatest influence.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bryn Powell

    An in-depth look at the writing and recording process for every Smiths song ever recorded. Even if you hate Morrissey & Marr the pre-digital tricks pulled off by engineer Stephen Street are worth the admission price alone.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Sevitt

    Acknowledges its debt to Revolution in the Head and then goes on to knock it out of the park. Simply delicious review of song genesis and structure. Written by an unashamed fan for unashamed fans. What a treat.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Craig Mcintyre

    The only thing that could make this any better is complete lyrics, but you can't have everything. For a band who have survived, through legend, for so long it is pitiful how much is genuinely written about them. A good and concise reference guide.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Still excellent. New edition is worth it, some extra info in there.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    completely educational!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    A fantastic, well-written stroll through every song every written by The Smiths - told in chronological order.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Why

    A chronology of the songs that did indeed save my life & taught me about British humour. A must-read for all Smiths fans on the greatest songwriting duo since Lennon & McCartney.

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