What Difference Does It Make?

"What Difference Does It Make?" is a song by the English rock band the Smiths, written by singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr. It was the band's third single and is featured on their debut album, The Smiths. A different version, recorded for the John Peel Show on BBC Radio 1, is included in the compilation album Hatful of Hollow.

"What Difference Does It Make?"
Single by The Smiths
from the album The Smiths
Released16 January 1984
RecordedOctober 1983
StudioPluto Studios, Manchester
  • 3:51 (album version)
  • 3:25 (single edit)
LabelRough Trade
Producer(s)John Porter
The Smiths singles chronology
"This Charming Man"
"What Difference Does It Make?"
"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]

The song was one of the band's first significant chart hits, peaking at No. 12 in the UK Singles Chart. However, Morrissey has said "What Difference Does It Make?" is among his least favourite songs of the Smiths'.[2]


The character Ray Smith in the Jack Kerouac novel The Dharma Bums repeatedly says "What difference does it make?" as well as "Pretty girls make graves", the title of another track featured on The Smiths.

Cover artworkEdit

The single cover is a photograph of Terence Stamp, taken on the set of the film The Collector. Originally Stamp denied permission for the still to be used, and some pressings featured Morrissey in a re-enacted scene. In the re-enactment, Morrissey is holding a glass of milk, as opposed to a chloroform pad in the original. However, Stamp later changed his mind, and the covers featuring Morrissey are now very rare and collectible.

Music videoEdit

"What Difference Does It Make?" was released without an accompanying music video. Speaking to Tony Fletcher on The Tube in 1984, Morrissey remarked that he felt that the video market was something that was going to "die very quickly", and that he wanted to "herald the death" of it.[3]

Track listingEdit

7" RT146
1."What Difference Does It Make?" (single edit)3:25
2."Back to the Old House"3:04
  • in original green sleeve
12" RTT146/CD RTT146CD
1."What Difference Does It Make?"3:50
2."Back to the Old House"3:04
3."These Things Take Time"2:20



Chart Peak
Ireland (IRMA) 12
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 12


External linksEdit