1980s Bands: The Smiths’ Meat is Murder Album Cover.
Meat is Murder: One of the Smiths’ Best albums.
Many will remember The Smiths excellent album, Meat is Murder, released in 1985 and featuring the above iconic photograph on its front cover, yes?
Well, not quite… The above is not the image used for the front cover of the album, but the original photograph, of Marine Corporal Michael Wynn, 20, of Columbus, Ohio, during Operation Ballistic in Da Nang, South Vietnam, which was taken during the Vietnam War.
There is a material difference between this photo and the album cover (this is the US cover, the UK album only had one photo):
As you can see, something has changed, namely the writing on the soldier’s helmet, which was presumably Morrisey’s idea. Here’s a comparison of the two versions:
I thought Meat is Murder was a great album, and it is generally acknowledged to be one of the band’s best. I used to listen to it on tape on an early and bulky Walkman as I travelled from Liverpool to Manchester each day on a nightmare commute I was doing by public transport in the winter of 1986.
This is a while after the time period covered in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, which effectively ends in October 1983, but the Smiths do get a mention in Bombed Out! because they formed in Manchester 1982.
Here are a couple of my favourite tracks from the album – The Headmaster Ritual and Barbarism Begins at Home. I love the bass playing on both tracks.
I tried to find out what became of Corporal Michael Wynn, and I was recently contacted by a member of his family, who told me that he survived the war and now lives in Australia.
What he thinks of his role in musical history is another, as yet unanswered, question.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php