Suedehead was Morrissey’s debut single; his first release after the break-up of The Smiths. It appeared on Now That’s What I Call Music 11, half a copy of which I own - an incompleteness suggesting that it was found, never mine in the first place rather than a careless disregard for the second cassette.
Suedehead bewitched and confused me right from the start, first with the slow fade-in, which always seemed wholly un-pop single-like, and then with the lyric, which I could never get to grips with. I didn’t know what or who a Suedehead was, and was perhaps afraid to ask. Had my curiosity won over my caution I would still have been none the wiser, since the song isn’t really about the Suedehead culture at all - Morrissey just happened to be reading about it at the time, and liked the word. The outro and its repetition of the Oh it was a good lay, good lay motif was lost on me. Morrissey’s ability to wring a schwa out of the briefest of moments between the words good and lay wasn’t helping, confusing me into inventing likely-sounding words (goudalé, anyone?) to sing out to the close.
The video doesn’t quite live up to the song - the storyboard presumably just said “I love James Dean”. As Stuart Maconie put it writing in the NME at the end of the year:
A nation…was even willing to forgive a silly, indulgent video where the lad himself drove a tractor and wandered pointlessly around James Dean’s back yard. Moz had yet to learn that it was he, not his obsessions, that we were in love with.