This Charming Man
"This Charming Man" is a song by the English indie rock band The Smiths, written by guitarist Johnny Marr and singer/lyricist Morrissey. It was released as the group's second single in October 1983 on the independent record label Rough Trade. The song is defined by Marr's jangle pop guitar riff and Morrissey's characteristically morose lyrics, which revolve around the recurrent Smiths themes of sexual ambiguity and lust.
Feeling detached from and unable to relate to the early 1980s mainstream gay culture, Morrissey wrote "This Charming Man" to evoke an older, more coded and self-aware underground scene. The singer explained of the song's lyrics, "I really like the idea of the male voice being quite vulnerable, of it being taken and slightly manipulated, rather than there being always this heavy machismo thing that just bores everybody."
Although only moderately successful on first release—the single peaked at number 25 on the British singles chart—"This Charming Man" has been widely praised in both the music and mainstream press. The single was re-issued in 1992, reaching number 8 on the UK singles chart (making it The Smiths' biggest UK hit by chart position). In 2004, BBC Radio 2 listeners voted it number 97 on the station's "Sold On Song Top 100" poll. Mojo magazine journalists placed the track at number one on their 2008 "50 Greatest UK Indie Records of All Time" feature.