While Morrissey said about his poetic musings on the opening track, “I didn’t want to attack the monarchy in a sort of beer monster way. But I found, as time goes by, this happiness we had slowly slips away and is replaced by something that is wholly grey and wholly saddening. The very idea of the monarchy and the Queen of England is being reinforced and made to seem more useful than it really is.”
Another influence on the tone of The Queen is Dead, Marr explains, was 1960s kitchen sink realism dramas, films like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, which the guitarist says the band would buy and watch on VHS every night. This vibe particularly influenced the song “‘Frankly, Mr Shankly”—Marr says that Morrissey also hit up Linda McCartney to play piano on the track, sending her a postcard. Sadly, she declined.
That working class feel was also present on the album’s artwork too, because one of the most famous images from it is The Smiths band members all standing in front of the Salford Lads Club in Greater Manchester—it appears on the inside sleeve of the gatefold LP. The photo was taken by photographer Stephen Wright and the iconic shot has not only meant that the Salford Lads Club has become a pilgrimage site for the band’s fans. But Morrissey is also a huge fan of it, with the Guardian noting that Morrissey sent Wright a thank you postcard. Although he did have a very Morrissey and “fatal” regret about the day, which was that “he hadn’t worn his mud-coloured cardigan.”