Suffer Little Children (5:26)

Cover of The Smiths

From The Smiths and 10 other releases

“Suffer Little Children”, the 11th and last song from The Smiths’ debut album The Smiths, is about the Moors murders that took place on Saddleworth Moor in Lancashire on the outskirts of Greater Manchester from 1963 to 1965. The murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley who were in a relationship at the time. When the truth emerged about the fate of the missing children, the nation’s grief was matched by its hatred for Brady and Hindley.

The song was originally released as a track on the band’s debut album in February 1984 but did not cause a huge amount of controversy until it came out as a B-side of the single, “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” three months later. The Sun newspaper then started a campaign against the single, claiming it to be in bad taste. The campaign resulted in some shops refusing to stock the record.

When the grandfather of one of the victims heard the song playing on a pub jukebox he became furious at what he felt was cynical profiteering from the horrific murders. He sought legal action to suppress the record, but later stopped after talking to Morrissey and realizing the sincerity of the lyrics. Morrissey also established a relationship with Lesley Ann Downey’s mother, Ann - Lesley is mentioned by name in the song. Morrissey has stated previously that the murders deeply affected him as a child.


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Over the moor, take me to the moor
Dig a shallow grave and I'll lay me down
Over the moor, take me to the moor
Dig a shallow grave and I'll lay me down

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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