"The Boy With The Thorn In His Side"
collectors appendix


UK 7" [Rough Trade RT191]
Rigid sleeve. Orange labels with black text in the classic Rough Trade layout. Different editions of the record have been reported. Here are the two known versions of this format:

  • push-out centre
    Initial pressing of the 7" has a push-out centre, as requested by Morrissey.
    RT 191A-1U-1-1-14 / RT 191B-1U-1-1-15
  • solid centre
    Later pressings, or perhaps pressings for a foreign market such as Ireland, have a solid centre.

UK 7" [Rhino UK RHN191; 2008 reissue]
This is almost identical to the original Rough Trade release. The sleeve is still rigid, but the image on the front is the slightly different one originally used on the 12" format. The catalogue number on the back of it was changed to RHN191, the Rough Trade/Cartel credits were dropped and a barcode was added. The record has a solid centre. The catalogue number was also changed to RHN191 on the labels, and the Rough Trade logo was removed. Publishers on the right side are now Universal Music, etc.

UK 12" [Rough Trade RTT191]
The 12" features slightly alternate artwork to the 7" format (view left). Just like the latter, its labels are orange with black text in the classic Rough Trade layout. The inner sleeve is glossy and in the same orange hue as the labels.
RTT 191-A2 / RTT 191-B2
RTT 191A-1U-1-1-/RTT 191B-1U-1-1-1

UK CD5 [Rough Trade RTT191CD]
In 1988 Rough Trade started reissuing the Smiths singles back catalogue on cd format, but stopped before half were done. "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" was one of the eight singles to get reissued that year. Some of these were given different artwork for the new format, but this wasn't the case for this one. The usual artwork was adapted to fit the cd's thin jewelcase type of insert. The cd's 'label' itself follows the pattern of all others in the series, with a horizontal stripe across the middle, this one being in the same brown and light blue from the back artwork.

UK sheet music [Warner Bros Music Ltd and IMP 20683]
The sheet music for this single includes tabs to the three songs featured on it. View here (better scan or flat photo needed).


UK 7" jukebox [Rough Trade RT191]
The text layout on the label of the "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" jukebox 7" is the same as the original version described above, but the record has a large hole in the centre. It doesn't come with a picture sleeve unless someone found an orphan one to slip it in.
RT 191A -1U-1-1-11 / RT 191B-1U-1-1-3
RT 191A-1U-1-1-9 / RT 191B-1U-1-1-1

UK 7" promo [Rough Trade RT191]
See 7" test pressing below.

UK 12" promo [Rough Trade RTT191]
As was tradition since the beginning of 1985, the single was mainly promoted with 'white label' copies of the 12" format. The twist for this single is that these 'white labels' actually had purple labels. The records were usually slipped inside a black die-cut sleeve although some copies were mailed out in picture sleeves. Some copies were paired with the 12"x24" promo poster described below before being sent out to media or retail.
RTT 191A-1U-1-1-1 / RTT 191B-1U-1-1-

UK video promo [Vanderquest]
The first 'proper' promotional film the Smiths ever did was included on one issue of the Vanderquest promo video series, alongside videos by other artists.

UK promo poster 30cm x 60cm (12" x 24")
View here.

UK promo poster 100cm x 152cm (40" x 60")
Subway size poster. View here.

UK promo poster 30cm x 40cm (12" x 16")
This poster was given away in some music magazine (very likely the NME) at the time of release of this single. It is very similar to the subway size poster above, but smaller. The text at the bottom is a list of tour dates. Scan or flat photo needed. Note: although the same size, this is slightly different in layout and finish to the advert mentioned below which happens to be the same size.

UK advert 30cm x 40cm (12" x 16")
Advertises the singles and the Scottish tour dates from the Autumn of 1985. View here. A 11" x 14" variation may exist (confirmation needed).


UK 7" test pressing [Rough Trade RT191]
Test pressings of this single appear to be among the rarest for the Smiths. The only type reported at this point in time could have actually been used for very early and very limited promotional purposes. The record has a push-out centre (which is more commonly seen for promos). The a-side has a white label with a white and red "Factory Sample Not For Sale" sticker and a handwritten catalogue number. The b-side has no label.
RT 191A -1U-1-1-1 / RT 191B- 1U-1-1-1

UK 7" - 2008 reissue 7" test pressing [Rhino UK RHN191]
The white label test pressing of this item has so far only been sold as a set with the test pressings of the other 7"s included in the "Singles Box". It is therefore described in the latter item's collectors appendix.

UK 7" - 2008 reissue 10" acetate [Rhino UK RHN191]
The 10" metal-based lacquer reference acetate for the 2008 7" reissue listed above comes housed in a 12" grey Heathmans Mastering sleeve with printed custom studio labels on the front (white with Heathmans Mastering logo on top, band name, title, catalogue numbers and '21/9/2008'). The matrix number is handwritten in the centre of the disc.

UK proof of 7" sleeve
Unfolded and uncut printer paper proof for the 7" single's front and reverse sleeve, with proofing, colour and registration bars. There doesn't seem to be any difference with the final version of the artwork.

UK proof of 12" sleeve
Unfolded and uncut printer paper proof for the 12" single's front and reverse sleeve, with proofing and registration bars. There doesn't seem to be any difference with the final version of the artwork.

UK proof of NME advert
Printer's proof of the advert described above. It looks like the advert but with a glossy finish. Additional information is welcome.


Australia 7" [CBS RTANZ012]
The Australia 7" front artwork is slightly different to the British one (view left). The back is also slightly different, but discrepancies there are as expected: the catalogue number was corrected, a 'shattered' Rough Trade logo was added to the bottom right corner, and additional credits were added at the bottom. The sleeve itself is made of card, but it is not as thick as the British sleeve. This is the first Australian Smiths single to have green and red 'man-silhouette' labels just like the New Zealand ones before this. However, unlike the latter, these have the line "Made and distributed in Australia under licence" at the bottom.

Australia 12" [CBS RTANZ12010]
Just like the 7", the Australian 12" sleeve differs slightly on the front from the British edition (scan or flat photo needed). There are also a few differences on the back, in the catalogue number, logo and credits, but this is expected. The record bears the green and red silhouette labels previously only seen on New Zealand pressings, but these feature the line "Made and distributed in Australia under licence" at the bottom and the typeset is not the same. The inner sleeve is of the round bottom anti-static type.

Australia CD5 [Festival D1075]
In 1988 Rough Trade in the UK re-released some of the Smiths singles on cd format and Festival in Australia did the same. However they didn't quite follow the homeland designs and the packaging was done more cheaply than in the UK. The front artwork was cropped to fit the jewelcase (the UK cd-singles were released in the thin case that need wider artwork) and the colours were not reproduced as well. The cd label's 2-colour horizontal stripe design remained as in the UK, but the font and layout were changed.


Australia 7" promo [CBS RTANZ012]
The promo 7" features black and white 'man-silhouette' labels with promo warning like all Australian Smiths promo 7"s of that era. Some copies were slipped inside a stock sleeve, others were distributed inside a generic CBS orange striped die-cut sleeve.

Australia 12" promo [CBS RTANZ12010]
The promo 12" has the expected black and white bowler hat man labels with promo warning. It is slipped inside a stock picture sleeve that has been stamped with a promo warning in gold on the back.


Brazil 12" [WEA 608.7000]
Collectors of artwork variations are interested in the Brazil 12" because its sleeve artwork is slightly different to that of the British 12" (view left). An orange 'MINI LP' diagonal stripe was added to the top left corner, '45 RPM' was added under the band name and the catalogue number is printed in small black text in the upper right corner. The back of the sleeve has the expected discrepancies: the catalogue number was changed and credits were added in black at the very bottom. The labels are dark orange with black text. Is the inner sleeve a white die-cut one?


Brazil 12" promo [WEA 608.7000]
Promo copies of the 12" are stock ones stamped "Especial para promoçao invendavel amostra gratis tributada" in gold letters on the back and in blue/purple ink on the labels.


Canada 12" [Sire 92 03920]
The Canadian 12" is quite an oddity. It is popular with collectors of alternate artwork, mainly because all the text on the front and back of the sleeve appears in black instead of orange or brown. The shape and size of the band name on the front is also slightly different to the way it appears on the front of the UK 12". Another interesting observation for completists: this is the only Canadian single on any format to feature a white Warner Bros label (with big WB logo) instead of the usual Sire or mock-Rough Trade labels. The inner sleeve is a clear anti-static one.


Canada 12" promo [Sire 92 03920]
As is custom in Canada, promotional 12"s are commercial ones stamped with English and French promo warnings in gold ink on the back of the sleeve.


France 12" [Virgin 80208]
The front of the French 12" is identical to its British counterpart. The back differs from it in the catalogue number, logo and additional credits. The label is rather unusual for a French one. It is orange-brown with grey text in the classic Rough Trade layout. Information about the inner sleeve is needed.


France 12" promo [Virgin 80208]
Stock copies of the 12" were stamped with a promo warning so they could be used for promotion of the single. The stamp states "Disque gratuit interdit a la vente", the words forming an embossed circle in the top right corner of the sleeve.


Germany 12" [RT/Warner RTT191]
This period in time was a crossroads for German Smiths singles. In 1984 and early 1985 they were licensed to Intercord and/or Rough Trade Deutschland, while from the middle of 1986 until the end they were licensed to Teldec or Line. "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" was the only single released in Germany in the 15 months stretch between those two periods. It was in fact pressed in the UK (see its matrix numbers and etchings) and because of its appearance and catalogue number, it is often mistaken for a British 12" out of its picture sleeve. The labels are similar in colour but the line "Made In England" was removed and a GEMA box was added. GEMA is in charge of publishing rights in Germany and the presence of its logo on the label is the only thing that marks this as a German item. The record is slipped inside an orange inner sleeve, just like in the UK, which is in turn often slipped inside a plain black die-cut sleeve.


Germany press sheet
Surprisingly, despite its low-key release, the single was promoted in Germany via copies of the UK 7" mailed out with a German press release. The latter item is one-sided and in A4 format.


Holland 7" [Megadisc MD5294]
The Dutch 7" comes in a sleeve very similar to the English one, but it is made of thin paper instead of thick card, which means that nowadays those sleeves are often wrinkled or marked by ringwear. Visually, the sleeve only differs from its British counterpart on the back where the catalogue number and some credits were corrected, and a large Megadisc logo was added. The labels are the expected circular-saw Megadisc ones, featuring the new-ish more stylish Megadisc logo at the top and titles at the bottom.

Holland 12" [Megadisc MD125294]
At first glance the front of the Dutch 12" looks just like the British one, but when the two are placed side by side it appears that the name of the band is not quite at the same position (view left). The back differs from the back of the UK 12" in the corrected catalogue number, credits and Megadisc logo. The labels are the usual Megadisc circular saw ones. Although the 7" labels feature the new styled Megadisc logo, the 12" labels feature the older plain font one across the centre. The most unusual aspect of this release is the inner sleeve, a glossy orange die-cut one just like in the UK and other countries. Because the labels in Holland are not orange like most other places, the effect is a bit odd.


Italy 7" [Virgin VIN45162]
The front of the Italian 7" is identical to the front of the British edition. On the back the catalogue number was corrected and some local credits were added. The sleeve has a skin-like texture. Nowadays it is difficult to find a copy of this item in good condition because the sleeve is very thin and is often marked by ringwear. The record has a large hole at its centre. The labels are dark orange with black text in the classic Rough Trade typeset.


Italy various artists EP sampler [CGD INT15250]
For promotion of this single in Italy (or perhaps the "The Queen Is Dead" album), the title track was included on a 6-track various artists sampler sent to media.


Japan 12" [Tokuma Japan 15RTL-3009]
Tokuma had originally followed Rough Trade UK and released in Japan every 12" put out in England until the middle of 1984. For some reason, perhaps unsatisfying sales, they stopped after "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now". "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" was the first single to be released there since then, and it would be the last one for the Smiths (the "Stop Me" album released in 1987 featuring tracks from various singles does not count). To entice potential buyers, the single was turned into an EP with the addition of the instrumental "Oscillate Wildly" from the UK "How Soon Is Now" 12". "Rubber Ring" was slotted on side A after the title track and "Asleep" on side B with the extra track, so the two didn't blend one into the other like everywhere else. This means that the ending of "Rubber Ring" was truncated as it would later be on "The World Won't Listen" or "Louder Than Bombs", only more. The sleeve has nothing unusual about it. It features different credits on the back and an additional catalogue number in small print in the top right corner on the front. The obi is mustard yellow and advertises recent Rough Trade releases on its back. The labels are dark orange, close to red. The record is slipped inside a round bottom film inner sleeve. A sheet with release information and lyrics in English and Japanese is slipped inside.


Japan 12" promo [Tokuma Japan 15RTL-3009]
The promotional version of the previous item is identical to the stock one, but with two exceptions: it has the usual 3-character promo mark added to the label, and a white 'SAMPLE NOT FOR SALE' sticker in the top right corner of the sleeve.


New Zealand 7"
The existence of a New Zealand 7" would be expected, but none has ever been reported.

New Zealand 12"
The New Zealand sleeve is identical to the Australian one, only perhaps slightly paler in colour on the back. This means that just like in Australia, the name of the band on the front is not of the same size and in the same position as on the front of the UK 12". The record is slipped inside a round bottomed clear inner sleeve and bears the classic green and red silhouette labels typical of Australia and New Zealand releases. The New Zealand labels differ from their Australian counterpart by the absence of the line "Made and distributed in Australia under licence" at the bottom and by a different and less crowded typeset.


Portugal 7" [Transmedia RT191]
The sleeve of the Portuguese 7" is very similar to the British one, it's even quite thick and glossy. The colours on the back are similar but not quite the same. A catalogue number and credits were added there in black text. The record has a large hole at its centre. The labels are white with black text in the classic Rough Trade typeset.


Spain 12" [Nuevos Medios 41-159M]
As usual, the Spanish 12" was pressed in England to be sold in Spain by Nuevos Medios. The sleeve is similar to the British one, with minor credits and catalogue number corrections. The labels are dark orange, almost red, with black text in the classic Rough Trade typeset, but with an additional block of small print at the bottom. The record is slipped inside a plain white paper inner sleeve.


Sweden 7" [Rough Trade RT191]
Sweden 12"[Rough Trade RTT191]
These 7" and 12" of "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" match perfectly their respective British counterparts, with the exception of the labels which are white instead of orange. The 7" has a solid centre, so it matches the British solid centre variation of the 7". There are no MNW or nęb logo on either the sleeve or label to establish without any doubt that these are actually for the Swedish (and by extension the Scandinavian) market, but just like many other Swedish singles, they were both pressed in the UK and feature black and white versions of the British labels. Also, before the internet accelerated the international trading of collectibles, these were mostly obtainable from Swedish dealers.


USA 12" [Sire 9 20392-0]
For once a certain amount of care went into the packaging of a Smiths single released in the USA. Instead of the usual generic Sire labels, this title featured rich orange ones with black text. These were changed on later pressings to white labels with orange text. Both versions were slipped inside orange inner sleeves just like the British ones except for the fact that they are not glossy. The front of the sleeve looks at first glance like everywhere else, but the name of the band is printed a bit more to the right, the final 'S' reaching the body of cover star Truman Capote. The back features additional logo and credits, as well as a barcode in the lower right corner. The suggested retail price '$4.98' is printed on the spine.


USA 12" promo [Sire 9 20392-0]
The American 12" was promoted with stock copies stamped with a promo warning in gold ink on the front of the sleeve. These promos feature the original version of the labels described above, orange with black text.

USA video promo [#44A]
The first 'proper' promotional film the Smiths ever did was included on a various artists promo video numbered #44A, alongside videos by 8 other artists. It is unknown whether this was a Sire promo, or if it was put together by one of those companies that puts together collections of videos for club play.