"The Boy With The Thorn In His Side"
September 1985


The Boy With The Thorn In His Side (single version)

UK 7" [Rough Trade RT191]
UK 7" [Rhino UK RHN191; 2008 reissue]
Australia 7" [CBS RTANZ012]
Holland 7" [Megadisc MD5294]
Italy 7" [Virgin VIN45162]
Portugal 7" [Transmedia RT191]
Sweden 7" [Rough Trade RT191]


The Boy With The Thorn In His Side (single version)
Rubber Ring
Oscillate Wildly

Japan 12" [Tokuma Japan 15RTL-3009]


The Boy With The Thorn In His Side (single version)
Rubber Ring / Asleep

UK 12" [Rough Trade RTT191]
Australia 12" [CBS RTANZ12010]
Brazil 12" [WEA 608.7000]
Canada 12" [Sire 92 03920]
France 12" [Virgin 80208]
Germany 12" [RT/Warner RTT191]
Holland 12" [Megadisc MD125294]
Spain 12" [Nuevos Medios 41-159M]
Sweden 12"[Rough Trade RTT191]
USA 12" [Sire 9 20392-0]


The Boy With The Thorn In His Side (album version)
Rubber Ring / Asleep

UK CD5 [Rough Trade RTT191CD]
Australia CD5 [Festival D1075]

Additional information:
The 2008 reissue of the 7" single by Rhino UK was also included in the "Smiths Singles box" which compiled the band's first 10 UK singles (plus two bonuses). On each of the five weeks leading to the release of the latter box, two singles from it were put up for sale individually. Collectors could therefore buy two single reissues every week, or wait at the end of the programme to get all of them in the box, alongside the two bonus 7"s.


Artwork information:
Truman Capote, photographed by Cecil Beaton in 1949 (view original). The band's name on the front is in black in Canada.


Etchings on vinyl:
The words of 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" is for Johnny Marr.


Additional release date information:
UK 7"/12": 16 September 1985
USA: 17 September 1985
UK cd-single: 28 November 1988
Australia cd-single: late 1988
UK 2008 reissue: 8 December 2008


Chart peak information:
UK: 23
USA: never charted


UK: This single was promoted with a purple 'white label' edition of the 12" format, usually slipped inside a black custom die-cut sleeve. A 12"x24" promo poster was occasionally slipped inside. A one-track Vanderquest promo video was also served promotional purposes

Australia: The promo 7" and 12" both feature black and white 'man-silhouette' labels with promo warning like all Australian Smiths promos of that era. The 7" was occasionally dispatched to media or retail inside a generic CBS orange-striped die-cut sleeve instead of the picture one. The promo 12" sleeve is a stock one that was gold-stamped on the back with the usual promo warning.

Brazil: Promo 12"s were stamped in blue/purple ink on the labels, and in gold on the back of the sleeve.

Canada: Gold-stamped copies of the 12" were distributed to radio and record shops to promote this single.

France: 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: The UK 7" was dispatched to media with a press release in German.

Italy: A 6-track various artists sampler 12" (CGD INT15250) featured the title track of this single. This may have actually been used to promote the "The Queen Is Dead" album.

Japan: Promo 12"s had the usual white SAMPLE sticker on the sleeve and the extra promo characters printed on the record's label.

USA: Gold-stamped copies of the 12" were used for promotion. The video for the title track was included on a various artists promo compilation 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 packages collections of videos for club play.



"Stuck in the middle because that's how the record sounds. Seems like Morrissey himself gives up on the song half-way through when he stops the words and uses up the rest of the needletime with yodelling. If it's too much to expect a revision of world music with every record, we could at least ask for something a little less ennervating. Turn over and drift off to 'Sleep' with Mo and a careful piano by his kinsman. Perhaps they have already exhausted their mine. 'The Boy With The Thorn' is a symptom of how a group try and slow up a brilliant start: its textures are sifted, better judged than anything they did a year or so ago. But the economy and energy are swiftly fading. It already seems unlikely that they will ever muster another 'Hand In Glove'. And the best Smiths song this year is probably Lloyd Cole's as yet unrecorded 'James'."
- Richard Cook, New Musical Express, 21 September 1985