“You can’t go home again.”
The seventh track on Viva Hate, Suedehead, was also Morrissey’s debut solo single after leaving The Smiths. It took some doing, but after about a week of repeated listenings to the full album, this is the first song from Viva Hate to get stuck in my head. Suedehead stands alongside Every Day Is Like Sunday as an album highlight.
The lyrics don’t seem to conceal anything that requires an analysis. SongMeanings.com offers a simple explanation:
The name Suedehead came from a book by British author Richard Allen about post-skinhead gangs. The lyrics do not appear to have much to do with the novel and Morrissey himself later described the song as being about the life he lived in his early teenage years around 1972.
Morrissey apparently idolized James Dean, and even wrote a short book on the actor’s life, called James Dean is Not Dead, prior to forming The Smiths. The music video for Suedehead shows Morrissey on a pilgrimage to James Dean’s home town and gravesite in Fairmount, Indiana. The young boy who delivers James Dean’s favorite book, The Little Prince, is Morrissey’s nephew, Sam Esty Rayner, who is now a photographer and film director. Wikipedia has more info on the song and video.
Moz looks pretty cold in this video. It makes me glad that spring is finally breaking here in Philadelphia. He also looks pretty sharp in a fedora, but at the same time something feels missing when I look at him and don’t see his trademark pompadour.