Johnny Marr calls Rick Astley’s cover of “This Charming Man” “funny and horrible”
Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" was released in July 1987, which was right around the time The Smiths broke up. You might not be surprised, but at the time, there was not a lot of crossover in Rick and Smiths fans; mortal enemies was probably closer. So it was a little surprising to learn that Astley would be joining UK band Blossoms to lead two Smiths tribute shows in London and Manchester in October. Blossoms brought out Astley, who was looking very Morrissey-esque in NHS specs, at a London show earlier this week, and video of them performing classic Smiths single "This Charming Man" has made the rounds, with many people saying Astley is better at being Morrissey than Morrissey. Judge for yourself -- footage of "This Charming Man" and rehearsal video of "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" is below.
Rick does seem to have aged better in public perception than Morrissey, whose political views have drifted further and further to the right, and has turned off even some of his most devoted fans; some have argued this is a way to enjoy the songs without guilt. Against Me's Laura Jane Grace wrote on Twitter, "Mind blowing how in 2021 Rick Astley is infinitely cooler than Morrissey Never would have predicted this 20 years ago. The wheel keeps on turning."
One person who is not a fan of Astley, or Blossoms' version of "This Charming Man," is former Smiths guitarist and co-writer of the song, Johnny Marr. He wrote on Twitter, "This is both funny and horrible at the same time." He also noted that he'd met Blossoms "a few weeks ago and they elected to not mention it. Nice." He added in another Tweet, "Must’ve slipped their minds."
Actual Morrissey played Riot Fest in Chicago on Thursday night, where he did not perform "This Charming Man" (and hasn't since 2015).