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Morrissey to Release an Album of Cover Songs

‘California Son’ album cover art. Image courtesy Morrisseyofficial.com and Etienne Records

Morrissey is to release an album of cover songs. Titled California Son The Smiths former frontman will cover artists like Roy Orbison, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Dionne Warwick and Bob Dylan. It will feature some classics from the 1960s and 70s in a tracklist totalling 12 songs.

Along with covering some famous names, the album will also have some famous musicians as performers on the tracks. These include Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong who will guest on a version of the Fifth Dimension’s “Wedding Bell Blues” along with Lydia Night of the Regrettes.

Broken Social Scene’s Ariel Engle will team up on Joni Mitchell’s “Don’t Interrupt The Sorrow” and violinist and singer Petra Haden will perform on Dylan’s “Only a Pawn in Their Game”. Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste will also be on the album for a version of Jobriath’s “Morning Star Ship”.

Morrissey wields a protestor’s placard bearing the title of The Smiths anarchic ‘Queen is Dead’ tour and album. © Gary Lornie

The cover of the Roy Orbison track, “It’s Over”, was released a few days ago and features the musician LP (born Laura Pergolizzi) who said the following about working with Morrissey:

[I’ve] great respect and appreciation [for Morrissey]. However, I soon realised when I hung out with him and he played me all the songs he was putting on this record that behind this was the heart of an audiophile and a deep fan of his own musical heroes. He is well versed in so many genres and knows deep cuts of artists I thought I knew so much about. It is inspiring to see the enthusiasm and intellect he brings to people through his own musical journey.”

Morrissey performing at the GLC's (Greater London Council) 'Jobs for a Change' festival on London's Southbank in 1984. © Richard Matthews

While, according to The Guardian, Roy Orbison’s son, Roy Orbison Jr. said about the cover version, “We love Morrissey! Morrissey’s hair, and melancholy and poetic lyrics always reminded me of my dad. His version of It’s Over is great.”

While the album might feature some alternative musicians and nod to some of the protest songs of the 60s, Morrissey himself has been a controversial figure whose opinions often light up the headlines and divide fans. It’s a classic case of liking the art but not the opinions of the artist.

You can listen to the Roy Orbison cover below and see the full track list from the album too. The album will be released on 24 May and you can pre-order it here.

“Morning Starship (Jobriath)” with Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear

“Don’t Interrupt The Sorrow (Joni Mitchell)” with Ariel Engle of Broken Social Scene

“Only a Pawn In Their Game (Bob Dylan)” with Petra Haden

“Suffer the Little Children (Buffy St Marie)”

“Days of Decision (Phil Ochs)” with Sameer Gadhia of Young The Giant

“It’s Over (Roy Orbison)” with LP

“Wedding Bell Blues (The Fifth Dimension)” with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day & Lydia Night of The Regrettes

“Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets (Dionne Warwick)”

“Lady Willpower (Gary Puckett)”

“When You Close Your Eyes (Carly Simon)” with Petra Haden

“Lenny’s Tune (Tim Hardin)”

“Some Say I Got Devil (Melanie)”

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer many iconic The Smiths, Morrissey and Johnny Marr images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy herehere and here.

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