EMI Session?

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DavidA ®

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Post 06-Feb-2010 22:58

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I was just watching 'The Queen Is Dead - A Classic Album Under Review'. Len Browne, NME Editor in the 80s, says "They did a session for EMI and could have signed to EMI in 1982".
This is news to me. Pre-Rough Trade I thought there was only the Drone Demos and Decibel Demos.
Is Len Browne wrong, or should someone tell Simon Goddard?
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SweetFA

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Post 06-Feb-2010 23:41 (after 43 minutes)

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Can't see them signing for a major label back then, can you?
Would have thought they were a bit left-field for EMI and they'd rather have worked for an independent label early on anyway.
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pjlm

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Post 07-Feb-2010 16:02 (after 16 hours)

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The Drone session was the one financed by EMI. The Smiths recorded "What Difference Does It Make?", a crazy 7-minute version of "Miserable Lie" and "Handsome Devil" with saxophone.
Stephane
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DavidA ®

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Post 07-Feb-2010 17:27 (after 1 hour 25 minutes)

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Oh. I never knew that. Prescient of someone at EMI, although not prescient enough to sign them.
Has the Drone demo ever made it out?
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DavidA ®

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Post 07-Feb-2010 21:59 (after 4 hours)

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I mailed Len last night. He was good enough to respond:
Hi David - yes, according to Morrissey, they did do a demo for EMI in 1982. Here's the relevant section from my book (p68 of the hardback version).
Best wishes, Len
=====
Without doubt The Smiths were utterly different, completely unlike anything else in the British music industry in the early Eighties. Against all the odds, stacked against him throughout his childhood, Morrissey was emerging as a charismatic frontman, a provocative spokesman for an independent generation. The Smiths knew where they were going but had they signed to the right record label to get them there?
Interestingly Morrissey later told me that Rough Trade weren’t the only London-based label initially keen to sign The Smiths. Before signing with Geoff Travis, the band had come close to joining EMI Records.
“It’s hard to say what would have happened if, for instance, The Smiths had been on a major label initially. EMI were the first record label that were ever interested in The Smiths and actually put The Smiths in the studio in 1982 and consequently rejected the outcome.”
What tracks did you give them?
“We gave them ‘What Difference Does It Make?’, ‘Handsome Devil’ and ‘Miserable Lie’ which they deemed unsuitable. It’s quite interesting that two years later one of those songs was a Top 20 hit.”
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pjlm

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Post 07-Feb-2010 23:11 (after 1 hour 12 minutes)

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Has the Drone demo ever made it out?
Not to common circulation yet.
Stephane
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SweetFA

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Post 08-Feb-2010 09:03 (after 9 hours)

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Interesting stuff. Handsome Devil with sax though (!)
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ravenslament.

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Post 08-Feb-2010 16:32 (after 7 hours)

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intriguing . drooling on the possibility of these trax surfacing (if at all) . i wonder what other golden nuggets are out there ?
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DavidA ®

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Post 08-Feb-2010 18:13 (after 1 hour 41 minute)

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Do you ever get the sense that Stephane says more through what isn't said? ;)
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peebooth

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Post 15-Nov-2010 03:14 (after 9 months 6 days)

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Has the Drone demo ever made it out?
Not to common circulation yet.
Stephane
...yet.
We live in hope (sigh).
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