Morrissey’s Taste for Shelagh Delaney

In an interview with UK music magazine NME in 1986, singer-songwriter Morrissey famously said, “I’ve never made any secret of the fact that at least 50 percent of my reason for writing can be blamed on Shelagh Delaney.” His love for the English playwright can be detected throughout his work with the Smiths, the legendary rock band he fronted in the 1980s, and his subsequent career as a solo artist, including in lyrical allusions to Delaney’s dialogue and the lives of her characters. By far the greatest influence on his songwriting is her 1958 theatrical debut, A Taste of Honey, a controversial exploration of sexuality, racism, and socioeconomic degradation that she wrote at the tender age of eighteen.

In conjunction with our release of Tony Richardson’s 1961 screen adaptation of A Taste of Honey, out tomorrow, we’ve gathered Morrissey’s most prominent references to this groundbreaking work of social realism in the below playlist:

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