Open main menu

The Last of the Famous International Playboys

"The Last of the Famous International Playboys" was the third single released by Morrissey. It reached number 6 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] The song was not featured on one of Morrissey's main studio albums but can be found on the compilation album Bona Drag along with the B-side "Lucky Lisp". The artwork for the single features Morrissey, aged 7, up a tree in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester—literally a boy at play. "The Last of the Famous International Playboys" is notable for featuring three of Morrissey's former colleagues in The SmithsAndy Rourke, Mike Joyce and one-time Smiths rhythm guitarist Craig Gannon—all of whom also appear on the B-side, "Lucky Lisp".

"The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
Single by Morrissey
from the album Bona Drag (compilation)
Released30 January 1989 (UK)
Format7", 12", CD, cassette
GenreAlternative rock
LabelHMV (UK)
Morrissey singles chronology
"Everyday Is Like Sunday"
"The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
"Interesting Drug"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]

The song mythologizes the notorious pair of vicious London gangsters known as the Kray twins (Ronnie and Reggie Kray), who held a tight rein on the East End of London during the 1960s.


Critical receptionEdit

NME gave the single a negative review, with Stuart Maconie saying the track was "'Panic' without the magnetism and the blinding self-confidence" and finished by saying "I would still chain myself to a disused railway line in Bacup for him, but the lad can do better"[3] However in a retrospective review, Ned Raggett of AllMusic was much more favorable writing "Morrissey's performance is grand and passionate".[1]

Track listingsEdit

7" vinylEdit

  1. "The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
  2. "Lucky Lisp"

12" vinyl, compact disc and cassetteEdit

  1. "The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
  2. "Lucky Lisp"
  3. "Michaels Bones"

Etchings on vinylEdit



  • Morrissey - vocals
  • Craig Gannon - guitar
  • Neil Taylor - guitar
  • Andy Rourke - bass
  • Stephen Street - keyboards
  • Mike Joyce - drums

Live performancesEdit

The song was performed live by Morrissey on his 1991, 1992, 2007, 2011 and 2018 tours.


The official video was directed by Tim Broad and was part of the compilation Hulmerist, which comprises seven videos made by Broad for Morrissey songs. It stars the actor Jason Rush, who had previously appeared in the 1987 television drama Two of Us,[4] intercut with footage of the band performing against a green-screen backdrop.

Release detailsEdit

Country Record label Format Catalogue number Notes
UK HMV 7" vinyl POP1620
UK HMV 12" vinyl 12POP1620
UK HMV Compact disc CDPOP1620
UK HMV Cassette TCPOP1620

2013 reissueEdit

"The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
Single by Morrissey
Released8 April 2013
Format7", CD
GenreAlternative rock
Morrissey singles chronology
"Suedehead (Mael Mix)"
"The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
"Satellite of Love"

The single was reissued along with a remastered version of his 1991 album Kill Uncle on 8 April 2013. The single was released in three versions, backed by new live Morrissey songs recorded in June 2011 by the BBC.[5]

The 7-inch single included "People Are The Same Everywhere (BBC live version)" while the CD included "Action Is My Middle Name (BBC live version)". "The Kid's A Looker (BBC live version)" was available via digital download.[5]

On 7 February 2013, it was stated on Morrissey's official website that the single would not feature the album artwork it was initially intended to feature. The cover art was to feature a previously unseen 1992 photo of Morrissey and David Bowie appearing together in New York City. Bowie had demanded that the photo not be used by EMI UK.[6]

Cover versionsEdit

The song was covered in 1994 by the Bent Backed Tulips, otherwise known as alt-pop band Dramarama. The version was acoustic, sung and played entirely by John Easdale, Dramarama's singer/songwriter. Its release was limited to a 7" vinyl single, and served as the B-side to "Tie Me Down".

Finnish band Russian Love made a cover version of the song on their fifth album, Gala Brutale, released by Zen Garden in 1996.

Pop punk band J Church covered the song on their album Nostalgic for Nothing.

NY Hardcore band Leeway covered the song on "The World Still Won't Listen" which was a compilation of hardcore and punk bands covering The Smiths and Morrissey songs.


  1. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Sing Your Life Review". Allmusic. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  2. ^ "Morrissey UK chart". Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  3. ^ "The Motor Cycle Au Pair Boy". Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  4. ^ Bret, David (2004). Morrissey : scandal and passion. London: Robson. p. 124. ISBN 978-1861057877.
  5. ^ a b "Press release: The Last Of The Famous International Playboys: Special Edition single; Kill Uncle: Album remastered". True to You. 5 February 2013. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  6. ^ "David Bowie and Morrissey in Fight Over Cover Art". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 April 2015.