"Bigmouth Strikes Again"|
An early instrumental version of this song was rehearsed at soundchecks while the band were on the Meat Is Murder tour in the spring of 1985.
Morrissey had given the song lyrics by the time they entered RAK Studios in London in September 1985 to record it. Early recordings featured Kirsty MacColl on back vocals, but her part was replaced with a sped-up Morrissey vocal when the song was mixed in October 1985 at Jacobs Studios in Farnham (Surrey). Morrissey and Johnny produced the recording, helped by Stephen Street as recording engineer.
The song has been performed live 46 times by the Smiths (including once as an instrumental), perhaps even up to 48 times if we take into account the fact that some setlists from the American leg of the Queen Is Dead tour have been lost. It was done every night on the September 1985 Scottish leg of the Meat Is Murder tour and the handful of dates from early 1986 (total 12 times). After the release of the Queen Is Dead album in the middle of 1986, it was done another 34 times (perhaps even 36 times) before the end of the year, which means almost every night of the Queen Is Dead tour.
It has been performed live a further 30 times by Morrissey after the Smiths, all during the 2004 You Are The Quarry tour. It had been introduced halfway into that tour and played regularly until the end of the year.
"I would call it a parody if that sounded less like self-celebration, which it definitely wasn't. It was just a really funny song."
"With 'Bigmouth Strikes Again', I was trying to write my 'Jumping Jack Flash.' I wanted something that was a rush all the way through, without a distinct middle eight as such. I thought the guitar breaks should be percussive, not too pretty or chordal -- I wanted a cheap, Les Paul sort of sound. The main riff is based on an Am shape, with a capo at the 4th fret. I buried this one little guitar part in just the right place, so it sounds like overtones of the main part, but it's really there. On the first of the two breaks, I'm playing slide through an AMS harmonizer, really high. For the second one, I used a Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty and a Rickenbacker together, playing a regular Em shape, but it's sampled and triggered off the snare drum roll. We credited the background vocals to 'Ann Coates,' but that's a joke -- it's the name of a place in Manchester. It's really Morrissey's voice, speeded up."