"Piccadilly Palare"


This song was very likely written at some point in 1989. It was recorded during the "Bona Drag" sessions at Hook End Manor in the winter of 1989 into 1990, with producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley. Musicians on this recording were Kevin Armstrong (guitar), Andy Rourke (bass) and Andrew Paresi (drums). Suggs provided the bits of dialogue.


single / original album version {3:28}
"Piccadilly Palare" single, all formats
"Bona Drag" album
"Suedehead - The Best Of" album
"The HMV/Parlophone Singles '88-'95" album
full length version {3:47}
"Bona Drag" - redesigned edition [remastered 2010]


This song has never been performed specifically for radio, television or the web.


This song has been done in concert a total of 62 times by Morrissey, perhaps up to 66 times if we take into account the fact that information is missing for some 1991 setlists. The song was a fixture on the 1991 Kill Uncle tour, apparently skipped only once when the set was shortened. It was done one time only since, on the second date of the Your Arsenal tour the following year.

live Dallas 17 June 1991 {3:07}
"Live In Dallas", a live concert on video
live Mountain View Shoreline Amphitheatre 31 October 1991 {?:??}
"Your Arsenal" album, redesigned edition bonus DVD


outtake with extra verse {4:14}
Leaked on the internet in 2004


"'Palare' is gypsy slang that was adopted by the theatre and in the Seventies I heard it being used by male prostitutes (laughs). They have their own code words for sizing people up and talking among themselves. The song is about male prostitution in Piccadilly. It became a very big thing during the Seventies. Were you ever aware of documentaries like Johnny Go Home? In the North, among most people I know, there was something oddly romantic about the whole thing. It spelt 'freedom'. Catching a coach and spending a day in Piccadilly was extraordinary. It's very glitzy now because Soho's been cleaned up, but then it was quite... powerful."
- Morrissey, The Face, 1990

"It's not a particularly strong record. It's not overwhelming, the subject is even slightly dated. 'Piccadilly Palare', which will receive blanket horrendous reviews, is a song about male prostitution. But I'm not running around in the street saying 'Look at me singing about male prostitution, isn't that incredibly unique!' I don't want plaudits for examining a new subject, but I will say that even coming across a pop record with a reasonably unique situation is in itself interesting."
- Morrissey, Vox, 1990

"Scattered singles flit through 1990, rounded off by the puzzle of Piccadilly palare (number 18), a student work of novelty that wears off before noon. I am so confused by the song that I turn down Top of the Pops. (...) With the fluster of Piccadilly palare I am confused by a song that I do not overly care for - mainly because of the rinky-dink Kinks sound spurting from the pale and pasty Kill Uncle session."
- Morrissey, "Autobiography"