The British films that inspired The Smiths’ record sleeves

the-smiths-the-complete-picture-originalIt is incredible to think that The Smiths were together for just five short years. In that time they managed to release four official albums, a few compilations of sessions, singles and oddities and of course, a run of some of the most amazing and unique 45s ever.

And one of the things that made The Smiths’ singles and albums so special was there sleeves. Handpicked mostly by Morrissey, they feature a series of cover stars most of whom dated from the late 50s and early 60s, and for Smiths fans they gave an real insight into the singer’s world – who his heroes were and the influences that shaped him.

Some of those cover stars were familiar, like Yootha Joyce, the star of two very successful seventies sit-coms. Others like French actor Jean Marais from Jean Cocteau’s 1949 film Orphée, were a bit more obscure.

Not surprisingly quite a number of the stars featured in British films from the 60s, so I have rounded up those covers and attempted to give a little more information about the films they came from. Most of them are very watchable – a couple of them are classics.

I have added YouTube links to each one. Two of the films are available in a full version on YouTube, the rest are clips and trailers.

Click on for the gallery and links.

What Difference Does It make - The Collector

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The Terence Stamp cover for What Difference Does It Make is infamous as it was withdrawn not long after its release as Stamp objected to his image being used. It was replaced by Morrissey in a pastiche of the shot in which he swapped Stamp's 's pad with Chloroform for a glass of milk. The Collector is also apparently a film that was not among Morrissey's choices. It was Johnny Marr who in 1985 named The Collector as his favourite film. The film is, well utterly unique. Stamp is perfectly cast as the sinister, yet occasionally tender young man who kidnaps the sweet Samantha Eggar and keeps her in his basement. Which makes it all the more curious how in spite of appearing in some great films Far From The Madding Crowd and Poor Cow come to mind alongside his role in Superman, he never quiet achieved the success of say Michael Caine. Paul Weller is also a fan of the movie and it was an obvious influence on The Jam song The Butterfly Collector. The Collector trailer

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AshleyThe British films that inspired The Smiths’ record sleeves