The Smiths – The World Won’t Listen (1987)
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About the Album
The World Won’t Listen is a compilation album by The Smiths, released in February 1987 by Rough Trade Records. It reached No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart, staying on the charts for 15 weeks.
The album was conceived as a collection of the singles and their B-sides from 1985 to 1987. Additionally, the scrapped single “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby”(which was passed over for “Shoplifters of the World Unite”) and the near-single “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”(a single candidate from The Queen Is Dead that was passed over in favour of “Bigmouth Strikes Again”) were included.
The title reflects Morrissey’s frustration with the fact that mainstream radio and record buyers still weren’t paying attention to the band. As the album included many non-album cuts and single versions, it remains a fan favourite. The music press was critical, however, labelling the album “inessential”.
The compilation was rendered largely superfluous only three months after its release when Rough Trade decided to release the similar but extended US-intended compilation “Louder Than Bombs”domestically. This was primarily done to save the consumer from paying high import prices. However, The World Won’t Listen contains two versions of songs that do not appear on Louder Than Bombs: the single version of “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side”and the single edit of “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.”Additionally, The World Won’t Listen contains different versions of two songs that would appear on Louder Than Bombs: “Stretch Out and Wait”features an alternate vocal and “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby”appears in a slightly different and longer mix. Also of note is the fact that “Ask”appears on both The World Won’t Listen and Louder Than Bombs in a slightly different and longer mix than its single version.
After WEA acquired The Smiths’ back catalogue in 1992, all Smiths albums were re-released at mid price, including The World Won’t Listen, which was expanded to include a cover of “Golden Lights”and the original Rough Trade cassette edition bonus track “Money Changes Everything”(the “Bigmouth Strikes Again”B-side, also later released on the deluxe edition of The Sound of The Smiths).
British artist Phil Collins produced an artwork inspired by The World Won’t Listen with the same name, which was filmed in Turkey, Indonesia and Colombia.