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There’s Panic on the Streets of London
Panic on the Streets of Birmingham
I Wonder to Myself
Could Life Ever be Sane Again
“Panic” is a song by the British indie band The Smiths, written by singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr. The first recording to feature new member Craig Gannon, “Panic” bemoans the state of contemporary pop music, and implores its listeners to “burn down the disco” and “hang the DJ” in retaliation, refrains that led some to accuse the band of promoting racism and homophobia. The song was released by Rough Trade Records as a single in 1986, reaching number 11 in the UK Chart. It was later released on the compilation albums The World Won’t Listen and Louder Than Bombs.
“Panic” was recorded at London’s Livingston Studios in May 1986. It was the group’s first recording sessions since they completed work on their third album The Queen Is Dead six months earlier. During the interim period, bassist Andy Rourke had been fired due to his drug addiction. The band hired Craig Gannon to replace him, but after they rehired Rourke, guitarist Johnny Marr offered Gannon a position as second guitarist.
The now five-piece band worked with producer John Porter at Livingston Studios; this was his first work with the group in two years. Porter added several layers of tracks by guitarists Marr and Gannon. Porter was concerned that the song was too short, so he copied the band’s first take from 5 May and spliced a repetition of the first verse at the end to increase its length. The group was unimpressed and opted to leave the song as they originally structured it.
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- On the Leeds side-streets that you slip down
- Provincial towns you jog 'round
- Hang the deejay!
- Hang the deejay!!
- Hang the deejay!!!
Fletcher suggests the song was not as much about race or sexuality as it was about the culture of British popular music, he writes:
... the ‘disco’ of ‘Panic’ was generally presumed to mean the longstanding city-centre meat market, which suggested exclusivity by demanding patrons wear a tie, or at least to ‘dress smart,’ but where drinks were overpriced, fights routine, and both the disc jockeys and the commercial Top 40 music that they played was almost embarrassingly disconnected from the neighbouring streets. Then again, when the Smiths performed ‘Panic’ to nearly 15,000 white American college kids, outdoors in the suburbs of Massachusetts, such reference points, vaguely stated in the first place, were easy to misconstrue.
|Released||21 July 1986|
|Format||7", 12", Compact Disc|
|Length||2 minutes 20 seconds|
Press ⌘ + H to Hang the DJ.