California Parents: 5 Songs Covered by Morrissey on His New Covers Album

Friday, May 24, 2019

Morrissey is one of those artists who makes headlines with virtually every move he makes and every word he utters, so it’s no surprise that there’s been no end of buzz leading up to the release of his new album, a collection of cover songs called CALIFORNIA SON.

We’ve got plenty of music by Morrissey in the Rhino catalog, of course, not to mention the entire Smiths discography, but this particular album isn’t one of ours, alas. We are, however, pleased as punch that he’s chosen to cover five songs for CALIFORNIA SON that do reside within our purview, and we’re proud to provide you with a playlist that includes not only the original versions of those five songs but also the rest of the songs on the albums from which they hail.

Ready to find out which five songs those are? Then let’s get to it!

1.    Jobriath, “Morning Star Ship” (from 1973’s JOBRIATH): Morrissey has a long history of loving Jobriath, but the world at large first became aware of it in 2004, when he assisted in the process of putting out LONELY PLANET BOY, the first-ever CD compilation of Jobriath’s work. That same year, Morrissey’s LIVE AT EARL’S COURT album included a photo of him and his band all wearing Jobriath t-shirts, and when he toured in 2006, he played Jobriath’s performance on The Midnight Special in advance of his concerts.

2.    Joni Mitchell, “Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow” (from 1975’s THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS): Another not-entirely-unsurprising choice for the album, especially given that a 1997 issue of Rolling Stone featured a piece wherein Morrissey interviewed Mitchell. The title was perfect, by the way: “Melancholy Meets the Infinite Sadness – The two songerwriters hold forth on promiscuity, chain-smoking, eating meat, and suffering for one’s art.”

3.    Phil Ochs, “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” (from 1965’s I AIN’T MARCHING ANYMORE): A seemingly left-field choice until you read up on how Morrissey used to write letters to New Musical Express as a youth and find that he once made reference to his “much revered Carly Simon, Loudon Wainwright, Jefferson Airplane, Buffy Sainte-Marie, New York Dolls, Phil Ochs, and Patti Smith albums.”

4.    Dionne Warwick, “Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets” (from 1970’s I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN): We don’t really know what else needs to be said beyond the fact that this is the most Morrissey-sounding song title ever, so of course he felt like he should cover it.

5.    Carly Simon, “When You Close Your Eyes” (from 1972’s NO SECRETS): There’s not much else to say about this choice, since his appreciation of Ms. Simon’s work was already established a couple of entries up. That said, as soon as you hear the original song, it doesn’t take much imagination to imagine Morrissey crooning it, too.