Morrissey’s video for “Everyday is Like Sunday” drew viewers to a silent and grey seaside resort

By on April 4, 2018

In this 1994 syndicated episode of “Night Flight,” host Tom Juarez introduces us to a handful of videos by a few of the ’80s and early ’90s top solo artists and the groups they left behind, including Morrissey of the Smiths.

Watch Night Flight’s “Take Off to Solo Careers” now on Night Flight Plus.

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For the two videos representing Morrissey, we’re treated to his video for “Everyday is Like Sunday,” his second single released as a solo artist, and a look back at the Smiths’ “unauthorized” experimental filmic treatment for “How Soon is Now?,” created without their knowledge or input by the band’s U.S. label, Sire Records.

Morrissey’s “Everyday is Like Sunday,” the third track from his debut solo album, 1988’s Viva Hate, is awash in Vini Reilly’s guitars and Stephen Street’s subtle synths, backed by a luscious, six-piece string section led by virtuoso violinist Fenella Barton.

Morrissey’s lyrics are typically hyperbolic and one of the best examples of the singer’s darkly-hued wit and churlish whimsy, including his wish for “Armageddon” to destroy a desolate seaside resort town (one that the World War II bombings had missed).

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Morrissey’s lyrics were famously inspired by Nevil Shute’s post-apocalyptic novel, On the Beach, which Morrissey twists into a dystopian character sketch about two morose lovers drinking “greased tea” in an empty off-season seaside resort.

The music video — directed by Tim Broad — was filmed in the pleasant Southend-on-Sea, on the Thames Estuary in Essex, southeast England (Oasis and George Michael have also filmed videos there).

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Broad reportedly based the concept for the video around Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, wherein Brel makes short cameo appearances.

Because Morrissey didn’t show up for the video shoot, Broad and his crew carried on without him, inserting his face on TV sets, 12″ single sleeves and the like (a shot of Morrissey at home in London was added later).

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Speaking of “carrying on,” the video also features clips from Carry On Abroad (reportedly one of Morrissey’s favorite films).

There’s also performances by a trio of English actresses: Billie Whitelaw, Cheryl Murray and lovely Lucette Henderson (as the young Morrissey fan), who had appeared in two of the Smiths videos.

Released as a single in June of ’88, “Everyday Is Like Sunday” reached #9 in the UK.

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Read more about the Smiths’ “How Soon is Now?” video below.

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“How Soon is Now?” is a swampy tangle of sounds, pulsating with a tremeloed Bo Diddley-ish syncopated guitar riff, built around a single chord (F♯), with slide guitar accents foreshadowing fuzzy shoegaze rhythms by more than a decade.

Morrissey’s lyrics, about insecurity and doubt, tap into a personal truth: “I am human and I need to be loved/Just like everybody else does.”

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“How Soon is Now?” found its way to college radio stations in the U.S., who added it to regular rotation.

Quite suddenly, it seemed that the Smiths — Morrissey (vocals), Johnny Marr (guitars), Andy Rourke (bass) and Mike Joyce (drums) — were getting so much small-market airplay that even though Geoff Travis of the band’s UK label, Rough Trade, had decided not to release it as a single, Warner Bros. (who distributed Sire) felt they needed a promotional video.

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Jeff Ayeroff, Warner’s recently-appointed head of Creative Services (a promotions department created by Stan Cornyn) hired NY filmmaker Paula Grief.

Grief is credited with co-directing the video with Richard Levine of the newly-formed Ross-Levine Inc., already known for their application of avant-garde and documentary film techniques to music videos.

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Grief — who never met the band — used lo-fi Super 8mm footage filmed on-stage, backstage and during the soundcheck, shot by the Smiths’ tour soundman Grant Showbiz in early 1984.

Our favorite snippet is of Johnny Marr showing guitar chords to Morrissey.

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This footage was mixed with stock footage of industrial chimneys and a blonde model in a red sweater and cap.

Morrissey later complained about the video to a writer for Creem magazine on June 8, 1985, saying:

“…. We were swamped with letters from very distressed American friends saying, ‘Why on earth did you make this foul video?’ And of course it must be understood that Sire made that video, and we saw the video and we said to Sire, ‘You can’t possibly release this…this degrading video.’ And they said, ‘Well maybe you shouldn’t really be on our label.’ It was quite disastrous — and it need hardly be mentioned that they also listed the video under the title ‘How Soon Is Soon,’ which…where does one begin, really?”

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The video and single — the original nearly-seven minute track was edited down to under four minutes — received such heavy rotation on MTV and college radio that it led to Sire Records’ chief Seymour Stein calling it “the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ of the Eighties.”

“How Soon is Now?” — originally a B-side of their 12″ single release of “William, It Was Really Nothing” in August 1984 — was belatedly re-released as the A-side of their 1985 UK 7″-single in the UK in late January of 1985, which charted at #24 on the UK Singles chart.

In the U.S., a Sire single arrived in November 1984, but it failed to chart (the Smiths’ self-titled debut had barely reached Billboard‘s top 200 on the album charts).

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Watch Night Flight’s “Take Off to Solo Careers” — also featuring Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, Phil Collins of Genesis, and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac — and other “Take Off” episodes now on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.