"The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" is a song by The Smiths . It appears on their third album The Queen Is Dead but was released as a single (albeit in a different mix) several months before the album, reaching #23 in the UK Singles Chart in Autumn 1985.
This was the first single by The Smiths to be accompanied by a promotional video, something the band had previously resisted. Some of the Smiths' more purist fans at the time derided this as a sell-out.
The following year, the New Musical Express greeted the news that the band had signed a contract with EMI with the headline "The Boy With The Thorn-EMI On His Side".
The jumping man on the cover of the single release is a young Truman Capote .
The song was covered by Scottish band Bis on the tribute album The Smiths Is Dead. Music reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine trashed the cover, stating: "In particular, the Bis utterly disembowel 'The Boy with the Thorn in His Side' with a single-minded stupidity that is just bewildering."
The song has also been covered by Jeff Buckley, Belle & Sebastian, Scott Matthews and Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis in live performances. The song's title was also adopted for the name of a book written by Pete Wentz, bassist of the band Fall Out Boy.
The song was featured in the third episode of the British drama musical series Blackpool. The Smiths performed this song on an episode of the popular British television program Top of the Pops.
Margi Clarke asked Morrissey if this song was inspired by Oscar Wilde and Morrissey replied: "No that's not true. The thorn is the music industry and all those people who never believed anything I said, tried to get rid of me and wouldn't play the records. So I think we've reached a stage where we feel: if they don't believe me now, will they ever believe me? What more can a poor boy do?"
The words of the B-side etching are the ones heard at the end of the B-side song "Rubber Ring", a sample taken from a recording of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest . "JM" stands for Johnny Marr.
Single by The Smiths
from the album The Queen Is Dead
ReleasedSeptember 23, 1985
Length3:17 (album version / different mix)
ProducerThe Smiths (single); Morrissey and Johnny Marr (album version)
The boy with the thorn in his side
Behind the hatred there lies
A plundering desire for love
How can they see the Love in our eyes
And still they don't believe us ?
And after all this time
They don't want to believe us
And if they don't believe us now
Will they ever believe us ?
And when you want to Live
How do you start ?
Where do you go ?
Who do you need to know ?