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The Smiths - The Headmaster Ritual

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by EllroyJames, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. EllroyJames

    EllroyJames Friend of Leo's

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  2. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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  3. Willy-son

    Willy-son TDPRI Member

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    "Belligerent fools run Manchester schools". Best lyric ever. Tough to play though.
     
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  4. Thin white duke

    Thin white duke Friend of Leo's

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    Everytime i play this song on you tube i end up listening to it 5 -6 times.
     
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  5. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Afflicted

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    One of the best Smiths tracks on their second best album (The Queen is Dead still tops the list). Taken as a whole, Meat is Murder is the closest The Smiths ever came to a concept album with almost every track exploring the permanent damage left in the wake of physical and mental abuse. Along those lines, really love this track as well:

     
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  6. Mike M

    Mike M Tele-Meister

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    Great guitar track, you need the weird tuning Marr uses to make it work, from the master below;

    "I've got an Epiphone Coronet with one pickup, and I string it with the high strings from a 12-string set. It's a really zingy, trebly guitar. I used that on a lot of things that people think are 12-string, like the end of 'The Headmaster Ritual'... I wrote 'The Headmaster Ritual' on acoustic. It's in an open-D tuning with a capo at the 2nd fret. I fancied the idea of a strange Joni Mitchell tuning, and the actual progression is like what she would have done had she been an MC5 fan or a punk rocker. I knew pretty much what every guitar track would be before we started. There are two tracks of Martin D-28, and the main riff is two tracks of Rickenbacker. I wasn't thinking specifically of the Beatles' 'Day Tripper' -- even though it sounds like it -- but I did think of it as a George Harrison part. The Rickenbacker belonged to Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music; I'm told that it was originally owned by Roger McGuinn. All the guitars are in open tuning, except for one of the chorus guitars, which is done on an Epiphone in Nashville tuning [the four lower strings tuned an octave above standard pitch], capoed at the 2nd fret."
    - Johnny Marr, Guitar Player, January 1990
     
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  7. Boxla

    Boxla Tele-Meister

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    On of my favorite tunes by The Smiths.
     
  8. Boxla

    Boxla Tele-Meister

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    I agree but it's belligerent ghouls not fools.

    I also love...he does the military two step down the nape of my neck.

    But I also think the absolute best lyric in all of music that's ever been uttered is by Bob Marley when he sang, "One Good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain" applies to any and all genres of music and is so true.
     
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  9. Switchy

    Switchy Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been noodling this one, I like it's jazzy chords and feel:


     
  10. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

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    Have to disagree on this one.

    I think "Queen Is Dead" and "Strangeways" marked a decline in the quality of their output. They were becoming caricatures of themselves.
     
  11. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    The voice and lyrics are great, but sometimes I wish this was just an instrumental.

    Johnny's guitars - so cool.

    +

    Mr. James, I want to thank you for posting this one. Because the Smiths catalog is so extensive and unreal, we overlook stuff that would be the pinnacle of a lesser band's career.

    +

    E5RSY is forgetting that, a part of the massive impact of earlier releases was, nobody had heard anything like it before. The later releases cannot, by definition, be that. That's IMO far different than self caricature. I thought the later releases came out too fast - we couldn't absorb them fully. Any indigestion is not because the meal was bad - instead it was consumed too quickly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
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  12. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Afflicted

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    Love the detail! I've said it countless times before, but Matt's genius was in the sophistication of his guitar arrangements. He's always got a ton of guitar tracks going but somehow nothing's redundant nor are they overly busy sounding in the mix. It's also one of the prime reasons The Smith's catalog holds up so well 30+ years later.
     
  13. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Marr is a true guitar god...like Elliott Easton, he defined the sound of the band and created a new approach to guitar arrangements. I am a huge fan of The Smiths.

    But I can't be the only goober who did a double-take on this thread title after reading it as "The Hamster Ritual."
     
  14. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

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    In case y'all didn't catch this a couple years ago, here he is live at KEXP doing it. Effin' awesome. Great band, too.

    p.s. I'm going to put a chorus pedal back on my board right now. :D

     
  15. speranza

    speranza TDPRI Member

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    So funny to see this thread now, I spent a good chunk of the last couple weeks learning this song, first trying to crack it in standard tuning before finding out it's in open E. There's enough material here for at least three songs, and the arpeggio part under the lines "I want to go home..." is one of the prettiest things ever put to record...
     
  16. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    Johnny Effing Marr rules.

    Greatest Smiths tune for me:

     
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  17. Thin white duke

    Thin white duke Friend of Leo's

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    I love this one as well, they wrote so many beautiful songs...:cry::cry:
     
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  18. Boxla

    Boxla Tele-Meister

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    Johnny Marr is 100% no doubt a guitar genius but it's obvious he really needed Morrissey to get his guitar heard by mass people. On the other hand Morrissey did not need Johnny's guitar or either of the other 2 in The Smiths to continue for his voice to reach mass people. That is not to degrade Johnny's guitar skills, it's only to point out the reality of the situation. He's a master and so unique and good. I have so much Smiths material on cassette, vinyl and CDs going back to buying The Queen is Dead the day it came out. I prefer most of the songs on Strangeways over the Queen is Dead. But I more prefer the earlier stuff that was on Hatful of Hollow. I used to play Bigmouth Strikes again back in middle and high school after one of the guitar mags put the tab for it in (I still have that tab). To this day it's the only song I've ever used a capo on. I bet I have not played it in 25+ years.
     
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  19. EllroyJames

    EllroyJames Friend of Leo's

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  20. JoesTele

    JoesTele Tele-Holic

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    Now isn't all that rather excessive?

    Why couldn't Marr just come up with the tune without four different guitars playing four different tunings?

    I'm going to say this and it is true: if I were to tune my guitars to all those odd tunings and then layer them on top of each other, I too could have been the guitarist for The Smiths. It's too easy to come up with songs when you change the very nature of a guitar. It's like a guy on four foot stilts playing basketball. If you can't play ball on your own two feet, then you can't play! If you can't come up with "Headmaster Ritual" on standard tuning, then you can't play!

    (Now I know Marr can play, but let's be honest, he does often seem to take the easy way out. If he were an athlete he'd be known as a cheater.)
     
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