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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "How Soon Is Now?"

Wednesday, December 21: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

The Smiths placed 10 singles in the U.K. Top 20 between 1983 and 1987, yet "How Soon Is Now?" was not among them. Only in the years following the group's breakup did this towering Morrissey-Johnny Marr composition become one of the group's best-loved and most familiar songs. Guitarist Marr kicks it off with shimmering Bo Diddley tremolo chords and builds layer upon layer of echoing six-string sound effects as Morrissey croons his defiance: You shut your mouth/How can you say/I go about things the wrong way/I am human and I need to be loved/Just like everybody else does. Sire Records president Seymour Stein called the nearly seven-minute-long song "the 'Stairway to Heaven' of the Eighties."

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