It was only released as a single in Germany, and it was rarely performed live, yet The Smiths’ song Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others has that indefinable something which elevates it above mere “album track” status. Seemingly without trying too hard, it has become an acknowledged cult classic, much loved by fans and critics alike.
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“Some things just drop out of the heavens, and Some Girls was one of them”
Speaking to NME in 2011, guitarist Johnny Marr revealed the song’s genesis: with Morrissey living just a couple of miles away, Marr would often scoot round on his motorbike and drop off cassette recordings of new ideas for the singer to work on. “I’d ride round there on my Yamaha DT 175 and post them through his letterbox, Marr said. “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others was done that way. All the music for that came in one wave while I was watching telly with the sound down.
“Some things just drop out of the heavens, and Some Girls… was one of them,” he added. Now sitting among the best Johnny Marr guitar riffs, the song remains “a beautiful piece of music” written, Marr recalled, on “a Rickenbacker 330 with a delay and a [Fender] Strat for the outro. A lot of chorus and delay, I think.”
What Morrissey’s bandmates weren’t expecting, however, was for their frontman to put such a seemingly frivolous lyric to Marr’s haunting tune. The words he came up with partially paraphrased US singer-songwriter Johnny Tillotson’s 1962 single Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On and also referenced the 1964 comedy film Carry On Cleo – most memorably with the second verse’s wonderfully camp, “As Anthony said to Cleopatra/As he opened a crate of ale: ‘Oh, I say/Some girls are bigger than others.’”
Morrissey revealed more about why he was suddenly inspired to pen a lyric about body sizes in a 1986 interview with the NME.
“I’m realising things about women that I never realised before”
“The whole idea of womanhood is something that to me is largely unexplored,” he confessed. “I’m realising things about women that I never realised before and Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others is just taking it down to the basic absurdity of recognising the contours of one’s body. The fact that I’ve scuttled through 26 years of life without ever noticing the contours of the body are different is an outrageous farce!”