The Queen Is Dead
On Monday, June 16th 1986, I stood outside Wherehouse Records, a few blocks from my childhood home, waiting for the doors to open at 10:00 am. The Smiths' "The Queen Is Dead" would be released that morning and I was determined to be one of the first to take a listen. I was 13 years old (and, yes, I didn't make it to school that day).
Not knowing (at the time) the Wherehouse would be my first place of employment (a little more than 4 1/2 years later), through the not-open-yet windows I watched the employees prepare for opening. The Smiths were everything to me then and getting my hands on a brand new, wrapped in plastic, cassette of "The Queen Is Dead" sounded about 100 times better than Disneyland on any day of the week. There were 17 of us waiting outside and I was 8th in line. A guy a few years my elder (probably about 19 years old) had a stellar boom box and we listened to "Meat Is Murder" until the doors opened.
The doors open and - as much as I would love to tell you the story of the dam breaking free and glass doors flying from their hinges - in reality, we all just casually walked in.
As expected, up front and center upon entering was a fine display of "The Queen Is Dead" cassettes with a full-sized poster and promotional cut-outs to add to the celebration.
I walked home at a faster pace than was familiar to me. My simple boom box waited with anticipation. I entered the front door of my home, ignored my mother's questions about me not being at school, and retreated to my room. I carefully unwrapped the plastic that held the blessed cassette hostage and put the tape into the player. I listened to nothing else for months.
Today, at an age a good bit higher in number than 13, I don't react to new music any differently. I grew up in almost all ways boys grow up to be men - but, my boyish excitement towards new music has never changed and I can't imagine the butterflies of excitement lessening any time soon. Music, to me, is endlessly and wildly exciting. It impacts every aspect of my life and I have a self-chosen soundtrack to get me through every moment. Music has been and will always be important.
Filmmaker Derek Jarmin created a few brilliant, colorful, and groundbreaking visual expressions that remain amazing to this day. Technology has surpassed the limitations of the 1980s, but the artistic expression presented here is top-notch, even when compared to today's standards.
Here is filmmaker Derek Jarmin's masterful visual interpretation of The Smiths', "The Queen Is Dead". It's everything a 13 year old lad finds incredible. And, even to a man, decades later, it's absolute brilliance. It's "The Queen Is Dead" - and I hope you enjoy it!