Rank (album)

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Live album by
Released5 September 1988
Recorded23 October 1986
GenreAlternative rock, indie pop
LabelRough Trade (UK)
Sire (US)
ProducerPete Dauncey and Grant Showbiz
The Smiths chronology
Strangeways, Here We Come
Best... I
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Blender2/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[3]
Christgau's Record GuideB[4]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[8]
Uncut4/5 stars[10]

Rank is the only live album by English band the Smiths. It was released in September 1988 by their British record company Rough Trade, and reached No. 2 in the British charts. In the United States, the album was released on Sire Records and made No. 77.

About the album[edit]

Rank was released as a contractual obligation. It was recorded almost two years earlier on 23 October 1986 at National Ballroom in Kilburn, London, and is a fourteen-track distillation (of 21 songs) by singer Morrissey from the complete concert recording that had earlier been transmitted by BBC Radio 1. The album rode high on the Smiths nostalgia and the success of Morrissey's debut solo album, Viva Hate, earlier the same year.

The songs omitted from the recording of the Kilburn show are: "I Want the One I Can't Have", "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out", "Frankly, Mr. Shankly", "Never Had No One Ever", "Meat Is Murder", and "How Soon Is Now?" Also, some edits can be readily heard in the concert itself, such as at the end of "I Know It's Over" when the crowd starts cheering. In late 2008 video footage appeared from the show on YouTube.

According to the Smiths biographers Johnny Rogan and David Bret, Morrissey originally titled the album The Smiths in Heat. Rough Trade objected and Morrissey proposed Rank, "as in 'J. Arthur'" (J. Arthur Rank is Cockney rhyming slang for "wank").


The album cover for Rank, designed by Morrissey, is a photo of actress Alexandra Bastedo. The image is from photographer John D. Green's 1967 book Birds Of Britain. The gatefold album's interior features a photo of several Smiths fans ripping apart Morrissey's shirt. That picture was taken by Ian Tilton at the 1986 Factory Records "Festival of the Tenth Summer" concert at G-Mex Centre in Manchester, England.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Johnny Marr and Morrissey except "His Latest Flame" (Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman), "The Draize Train" (Marr) and the very beginning of "The Queen Is Dead" where an audio recording of Sergei Prokofiev's classical piece "Montagues and Capulets" was played to introduce the band.

1."The Queen Is Dead"4:11
3."Vicar in a Tutu"2:40
5."His Latest Flame/Rusholme Ruffians" (Medley)3:55
6."The Boy with the Thorn in His Side"3:47
7."Rubber Ring/What She Said" (Medley)3:41
8."Is It Really So Strange?"3:45
9."Cemetry Gates"2:50
11."I Know It's Over"7:49
12."The Draize Train"4:23
13."Still Ill"4:09
14."Bigmouth Strikes Again"5:51


The band[edit]

  • Morrissey – vocals ("voice" in the liner notes)
  • Johnny Marr – lead guitar ("guitars" in the liner notes)
  • Andy Rourke – bass guitar ("the bass guitar" in the liner notes)
  • Mike Joyce – drums ("the drums" in the liner notes)
  • Craig Gannon – rhythm guitar ("additional guitars" in the liner notes)

Technical staff[edit]


  1. ^ DiGravina, Tim. "Rank – The Smiths". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  2. ^ Power, Tony (15 September 2004). "The Smiths: Rank". Blender. Archived from the original on 30 June 2006. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (7 July 1991). "The Smiths And Solo". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "The Smiths: Rank". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  5. ^ Brown, James (3 September 1988). "Ballroom Blitz". NME.
  6. ^ Wolk, Douglas (18 November 2011). "The Smiths: The Smiths Complete". Pitchfork. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  7. ^ Farber, Jim (17 November 1988). "Rank". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  8. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Smiths". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 753–54. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  9. ^ Harrison, Andrew (May 1993). "The Smiths". Select (35): 104.
  10. ^ Dalton, Stephen (1998). "The Smiths: Rank". Uncut.