Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" is a song by the English rock band the Smiths. Released as a single in May 1984, it reached No. 10 on the UK Singles Chart.[3] It was later included in the November 1984 compilation album, Hatful of Hollow. It is listed as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
Single by The Smiths
from the album Hatful of Hollow
Released21 May 1984 (CD single: 28 November 1988)
RecordedMarch 1984 (1984-03)
Fallout Shelter, Hammersmith, London[1]
GenreAlternative rock, indie pop
LabelRough Trade
Songwriter(s)Johnny Marr, Morrissey
Producer(s)John Porter
The Smiths singles chronology
"What Difference Does It Make?"
"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
"William, It Was Really Nothing"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[2]


The music was written by Johnny Marr in an hour in a New York hotel room on 2 January 1984, on a red Gibson ES-355 guitar that was bought for him that day by Seymour Stein.[4] After finishing the song he then wrote the music for b-side ‘Girl Afraid’ the same evening, and considers the two songs 'a pair'.[5]

The song is notable for marking the beginning of producer Stephen Street's working relationship with the band.[1] As one of his first roles as "in-house engineer" at Island Records' Fallout Shelter studios, Street engineered the session. He was well aware of the band and excited by the prospect, saying in a HitQuarters interview, "I'd seen them just shortly beforehand on Top of the Pops doing 'This Charming Man', and like most other people around that time who were into music I was really excited by them."[1] Street says his enthusiasm must have rubbed off on Morrissey and Johnny Marr because they would take his name and number.[1] Although not contacted for the subsequent recording "William, It Was Really Nothing", he was asked to engineer their next album, Meat Is Murder, with Morrissey and Marr producing for the first time.[1]

The cover features Viv Nicholson, who became famous in 1961 in the UK for winning a large amount of money on the football pools and then rapidly squandering it. The song's title was inspired by Sandie Shaw's 1969 single "Heaven Knows I'm Missing Him Now".

The single was the subject of some controversy upon its release due to its B-side, "Suffer Little Children", which is about the Moors murders between 1963 and 1965. The band's performance of the song on Channel 4's Earsay on 31 March 1984 features mixed footage of the band playing in a studio and footage of Morrissey walking around some wasteland in Manchester, with gladiolus flowers in his hands and the back pocket of his trousers.

Cultural referenceEdit

Journalist Andrew Collins borrowed the song's title for the name of his autobiographical book, Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now: My Difficult Student 80s, published in 2004.[6] The title of 'Girl Afraid' is taken from the 1943 film Old Acquaintance starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins. Hopkins's character Mildred Watson Drake is a successful author who writes a novel called 'Girl Afraid'.

Track listingEdit

7" RT156
1."Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"3:34
2."Suffer Little Children"5:27
  • in original green sleeve
12" RTT156/CD RTT156CD
1."Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"3:34
2."Girl Afraid"2:46
3."Suffer Little Children"5:27

Etchings on vinylEdit




Chart (1984) Peak
Irish Singles Chart[7] 11
UK Singles Chart[3] 10


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[8] Silver 200,000 

 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c d e "Interview With Stephen Street". HitQuarters. 27 September 2005. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now rating". Allmusic. Retrieved on 29 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company – The Smiths – Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now". Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Johnny Marr plays 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' for first time in 25 years".
  5. ^ "Song Stories – The Smiths, 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now'".
  6. ^ Collins, Andrew (2005). Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now:My Difficult Student 80s. Ebury Press. ISBN 9780091896911.
  7. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  8. ^ "British single certifications – Smiths – Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 September 2020.

External linksEdit