Memory is a curious thing. For instance supposedly important personal events in my life , anniversaries, birthdays and the like pass me by . Yet i can remember with high resolution detail buying the Queen Is Dead. Entering the shop ( A little independent no longer around alas) buying it, getting it home and playing it for the first time. An experience akin to an epiphany...(the playing that is) but then most new releases by The Smiths were.....but this album if anything, went beyond epiphany into whatever it is that describes an experience beyond epiphany. Released in June 1986 The Queen Is Dead is The Smiths third album and the one considered by just about everyone as their finest moment, though it,s interesting to note that Morrissey and Marr believe that their final album "Strangeways Here We Come" eclipsed it. Many of the songs for The Queen Is Dead were written while The Smiths were touring in 1985 but the album benefited hugely from the conducive collaboration in the studio between Marr and Morrissey who co-produced and engineer Stephen Street. There are numerous elements that make The Queen Is Dead such a special album. The song-writing is of course exemplary , but there is a mixture of styles, moods, textures and nuances that take this album somewhere out of the context of a traditional pop/rock album. Add to this the peerless lyrics , full of verbose wit and spry humour and you have an album that fully deserves the moniker classic . Opening up with the iconoclastic blast of the title track , one of Morrissey's greatest triumphs lyrically it segues into the knee popping bounce of "Frankly Mr Shankly" before the head spinning thematic swivel into the forlorn "I Know It,s Over". The plummeting almost dirge like "Never Had No One Ever" will be not to everyone's taste but I feel it has a real hypnotic power and acts as a counterweight to the sprightly "Cemetery Gates" which has a terrific Andy Rourke bass line and trademark cascading Marr chords and the memorable lyrics about plagiarism: "There's,s always someone somewhere with a big nose who knows" which was Morrissey's riposte to critics who had cried foul over his use of quotes from some of his favourite authors. The opener on the vinyl side two is "Bigmouth Strikes Again " , the lead single off the album , chosen because the band wanted to make an emphatic affirmative statement on their return. The high pitched backing vocals are great and Morrissey employs his own distinctive high range yodel. "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" has a gorgeous Marr arrangement with lilting synthesized strings while "Vicar In A Tutu" is a giddy rush of quintessentially English silliness segueing into the song most consider the albums highpoint "There Is Light That Never Goes Out" . Unusually optimistic for Morrissey , the song about two people whose love would overcome death by double decker buses and ten ton trucks is a rare song, even for The Smiths, that merges genuine humorous pathos with a cracking tune. Final track "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" has a mantra like quality and ends the album on a considerably more lugubrious note than it came in. The Queen Is Dead is one of the landmark albums of the 1980,s . An erudite multi-faceted work of tumescent genius that feels like a truly complete work. Everytime i hear the album the memories come rushing back in. If only i had bought on a significant birthday then it would be one less thing to worry about remembering. Other than that The Queen Is Dead is perfect.