"Louder Than Bombs"
March/May 1987


Is It Really So Strange? (Peel session 17/12/86)
Sheila Take A Bow
Shoplifters Of The World Unite
Sweet And Tender Hooligan (Peel session 17/12/86)
Half A Person
Girl Afraid
Shakespeare's Sister
William, It Was Really Nothing
You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby (slightly remixed)
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
Golden Lights
Oscillate Wildly
These Things Take Time
Rubber Ring
Back To The Old House
Hand In Glove
Stretch Out And Wait
Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want
This Night Has Opened My Eyes (Peel session 21/9/83)

UK CD [Rough Trade ROUGHCD255]
UK CS [Rough Trade ROUGHC255]
UK 2-LP [Rough Trade ROUGH255]
UK/Europe CD [2012 reissue on Warner/Rhino 2564660483]
UK/Europe 2-LP [2012 reissue on Rhino Records 2564665877]
Australia 2-CD [Festival D70269/70]
Australia CD [WEA 1993 reissue 450993833-2]
Australia 2-CS [Festival C70269/70]
Australia 2-LP [Festival L70269/70]
Brazil CD [Stiletto 498.005]
Brazil CS [Stiletto ??]
Brazil 2-LP [Stiletto 270.4001]
Canada CD [Sire CD-25569]
Canada CS [Sire 25569-4]
Canada CS [Columbia House W4 25569; record club edition]
Canada 2-LP [Sire 25569-1]
Canada 2-LP [Columbia House W1 25569; record club edition]
Europe CD [WEA 450993833-2]
Europe CS [WEA 450993833-4]
France CD [Virgin 30261]
Indonesia CS [Golden Peacock 2264, "Louder Than Bombs vol 2"]
Israel CS [Rough Trade ROUG 255-4]
Italy CD [Rough Trade CDROUG255]
Japan CD [1990 first release on Victor VICP-43]
Japan CD [1993 reissue on WEA WMC5-547]
Japan CD [1995 reissue on WEA WPCR-306]
Japan CD [2006 reissue on WEA WPCR-12443]
Philippines CS [Backbeat ??; part I tracks 1-12]
Philippines CS [Backbeat ??; part II tracks 13-24]
Saudi Arabia CS [Thomsun Original EN-1656; part 1, tracks 1-12]
Saudi Arabia CS [Thomsun Original EN-1657; part 2, tracks 13-24]
Taiwan CS [Crystal ROUGHC255]
USA CD [Sire 9 25569-2]
USA CD [BMG Direct 9 25569-2/D 102695; record club edition]
USA CD [2012 reissue on Sire/Rhino R2 25569]
USA CS [Sire 9 25569-4]
USA CS [Columbia House W4-25569; record club edition]
USA 2-LP [Sire 9 25569-1]
USA 2-LP [Columbia House W1 25569; record club edition]


Additional information:
"Louder Than Bombs" is the North American counterpart to "The World Won't Listen". It has less album material and includes many tracks only available on singles (many of which unreleased in North America at the time). It includes songs already available on "Hatful Of Hollow" which hadn't been released in the USA until then.

CBS didn't originally release "Louder Than Bombs" in Australia, but a double album edition of "The World Won't Listen" was put together with tracks from both albums. Click on title in bold for more information.

The 2006 Japanese cd reissue is slipped inside a mini-replica of an original LP sleeve. Even the inner sleeve, obi and label are replicas of the ones from the original LP pressing. Unlike all other Smiths albums reissued this way at the same time, this one isn't based on a Japanese LP because "Louder Than Bombs" was never released in that format in Japan.

The 2012 UK/Europe Rhino reissues on compact disc and LP are identical to the editions found inside the 2011 "Complete" box set.


Artwork information:
Shelagh Delaney, photo from the Saturday Evening Post, 21 October 1961. She would appear a few months later on another Smiths sleeve, for the "Girlfriend In A Coma" single.

The back has an orange tinted close-up of the upper half of the inside photo displayed above.

The artwork for the 2006 Japanese cd reissue in mini-LP sleeve follows the LP model instead of the cd one.

The USA promo 12" shows a Lawrence Watson photo of the band revisiting the Salford Lads Club in Early 1987.


Etchings on vinyl:


Additional release date information:
USA/Canada LP and cassette: 16 or 31 March 1987
USA/Canada CD: May 1987
UK: 28 November 1988
UK/Europe WEA re-release: 1994
Australia WEA 1993 re-release: 12 December 1993
Japan WEA 1993 re-release: 10 December 1993
Japan WEA 2006 re-release: 13 September 2006
UK 2012 reissues: 26 March 2012
USA 2012 cd reissue: 3 April 2012


Chart peak information:
UK: 38
USA: 63


USA: Gold on 19 September 1990
UK: Gold on 14 May 2004


Brazil: Stock copies of the LP were stamped with a BMG promo warning in gold on the back of the sleeve and in red ink on the labels.

Canada: Stock copies of the LP with a gold promo stamp on the back were used for promotion of the album.

Japan: The original 1990 cd issue and the 1993 (and possibly 1995) reissue had a promo sticker on the case or obi, and promo text etched on the cd's inner ring. The promo cd for the 2006 reissue in LP-replica sleeves have a white and red promo sticker on the back and 'sample loaned' etched on the cd's inner ring.

USA: Promotion of the album was mostly done via stock copies of the LP with a gold promo stamp on the front and a one-track promo 12" of "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" (Sire, PRO-A-2712; view front artwork in left section). The former and/or the latter were sometimes paired with a press kit consisting of a 2-page bio on yellow Sire paper and 2 photos of the band (on one sheet) in a Warner Bros folder. One of the photos shows Morrissey, hands on heart, in front of a "The Queen Is Dead" tour poster of a boy and the other shows the band in front of the Salford Lads Club, with snow on the ground.



"... singles were one of the most important things that brought us together, a love of the classic 7" pop format. Those were the records I grew up with. A huge facet of what we were about was missed out on, because singles culture is so ineffectual in America. But I thought Louder Than Bombs, the singles compilation, was great."
- Johnny Marr, Guitar Player, January 1990



"Originally a US-only, double Best Of drawn from the two UK compilations, plus the bonus of the stomping glam single, "Sheila Take A Bow", the elegaic "Half A Person" and the hilarious North/South travelogue, "Is It Really So Strange?", Rough Trade gave this a domestic release to combat overpriced imports flooding the shops. (****)"
- Stephen Dalton, Uncut, 1998

"This well-sequenced double album collection of new recordings and single sides previously unavailable on a U.S. LP is the ultimate Smiths statement, as it compiles most of their peak moments. For the uninitiated, 24 reasons to go on living. For the fans, a reminder of why you have."
- Spin

"Oooooooooh people are rude and nobody loves me and you don't believe me and it's raining outside and no one understands me and don't eat that burger it was somebody's baby once and people don't care and my dear cat just threw up on me and go ahead and kick me and I'm too shy to make friends so I'm going to sit in here and rot and die, thanks, and nobody will ever find me 'cause they never knew I was alive in the first place (moan... groan) and I'll have a little whine with my dinner and ask me something before we all blow up and Lord, if it wasn't for the 27 [sic] little gems on this Smiths double album of real rare b-sides, singles and a few shiny newies, I might get depressed or something!"
- Suzan (sigh) Colon, Star Hits

How Will The The Thermos Survive?
"More musique maudit from the muezzin of melancholia. 'So if you have five seconds to share/Then I'll tell you the story of my life/Sixteen, clumsy, and shy,' mourns Morrissey, who captures the awkward angst of adolescence better than any songwriter currently working within rock 'n' roll. Call 'em morbid, call 'em pale, Morrissey and sidekick Johnny Marr have made the Smiths the leading contenders to follow U2 into the Next Big Thing arena sweepstakes.
Which would be gratifying on any number of levels, not least of which is Morrissey's doomed, hyper-romantic bard, a high-low brow blend of Shelley and Keats, Reed and Morrison and Laurel and Hardy. There's more gloom und doom here, boys and girls, but there's giggles aplenty too. What else can you say about a guy who sings, 'I was looking for a job, and then I found a job/And heaven knows I'm miserable now...why do I give valuable time/To people who don't care if I live or die?' That he loved the Beatles, Bach and Beethoven? And he's fully prepared for martyrdom?
How do I love the Smiths? Let me count the ways. 'Louder Than Bombs' is a double-album which gathers some of the band's U.K. singles and B-sides together with seven brand-new songs, but it stands as an epic work, coming as it does on the heels of last year's magnum opus, The Queen Is Dead. Rock or racist, gay or straight, fey or faking, the Smiths are a thinking fan's rock band. Morrissey is a postmodernist Hamlet, deciding whether he should live or die, and somehow the thought process becomes a slapstick meditation on the healing nature of art. 'Oh yes, you can kick me/And you can punch me/And you can break my face/But you won't change the way I feel.'
The set includes such controversial U.K. smashes as 'Shoplifters Of The World Unite,' 'William, It Was Really Nothing' and 'Panic,' the latter of which has been criticized as an anti-black diatribe on the basis of its anthemic chorus, 'Hang the D.J.,' which, come to think of it, is not such a bad idea in this age of tight radio playlists.
But the Smiths are not all Morrissey's sublime wordplay and mock morose mindset. There's guitarist/co-songwriter extraordinaire Johnny Marr, who creates a thick stew of multi-textured but sharply defined melodic pop to cushion his sidekick's prickly persona. Check out the lush, shimmering cover of the 1965 obscurity 'Golden Lights' (credited to one Twinkle) or the hypnotic, onomatopoeic instrumental, 'Oscillate Wildly,' to see what Johnny can do on his own. Marr does more with less than any musician this side of Peter Buck and Bob Mould.
The bottom line is still how you feel about the troubled troubadour himself, though. People either love Morrissey or can't stand his celibate, asexual longing, finding it insufferably pretentious. In the tradition of all great rock 'n' roll (in my book anyway), the Smiths make you draw the line and come out fighting. I'll take 'em over the P. Furs, Cure, Cult, New Order or any other current anglobands vying for the Yankee dollar and the vast teenage wasteland. Who said we won't get fooled again?
After all, how can you not embrace a guy who croons, 'Shyness is nice, but/Shyness can stop you/From doing all the things in life/That you'd like to... Ask me - I won't say "No - How could I?"' I second that emotion. There hasn't been a poet who articulated teenage heartache so effectively since Smokey Robinson. Would I lie to you?"
- Roy Trakin, Creem