There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (4:01)

Cover of The Queen Is Dead

From The Queen Is Dead and 55 other releases

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out is a song by The Smiths, written by Morrissey and Johnny Marr. It was originally featured on their album The Queen Is Dead, but despite its popularity it was not released as a single until , after The Smiths split up. Morrissey re-released the song as a double A-side live single (with his cover of Patti Smith’s Redondo Beach) in , which reached #11 in the UK singles chart. The song has been voted highly in numerous “best ever” song lists.

The song lyrically utilises a first-person narrative concerning yearning, anxiety, and implied romance. Morrissey assumes the role of a person who has, one could infer from the lyrics, been kicked out of home, so seeks solace and company in the form of the person the song addresses - the car’s driver.

Musically, the song begins with a staccato bridge similar to that heard on Hitch Hike by Marvin Gaye and There She Goes Again by The Velvet Underground, which recurs as a musical motif throughout the song. With synthesized strings, a balladesque arrangement and yearning lyrics, many listeners have viewed “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” as a straightforward love song despite some ambiguity in the lyrics themselves.

Many of Morrissey’s lyrics are borrowed from other sources. In particular, the title of this song has been a source of wonder. One credible suggestion has been that the title is a paraphrase of what Hugh Latimer said to Nicholas Ridley as they were about to be burned at the stake as heretics during the reign of “Bloody Mary,” Queen Mary I of England:


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