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)
Released 30 January 1989 (UK)
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:37
Label HMV (UK)
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Stephen Street
Morrissey singles chronology
Everyday Is Like Sunday
(1988)
The Last of the Famous International Playboys
(1989)
Interesting Drug
(1989)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [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.

. . . The Last of the Famous International Playboys . . .

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]

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

British 7″ and 12″: ESCAPE FROM VALIUM/RETURN TO VALIUM

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

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.

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
Chart (1989–90) Peak
position
UK Singles (OCC)[5] 6
US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)[6] 3

. . . The Last of the Famous International Playboys . . .

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. . . The Last of the Famous International Playboys . . .