On February 11, 1985, (or Valentine’s Day by some accounts), The Smiths released their 2nd studio album Meat Is Murder. Commercially, the release is their most successful one, as it is their only number one album, staying in the UK charts for 13 weeks.
Meat Is Murder is an openly political album, and since Morrissey is a very frank member of the musician’s guild, his political views had a huge influence on the album’s lyrics. An example of this is those found on songs like “The Headmaster Ritual”, (as pointed out by Tony Wilson during an interview for Granada Reports), and the LP’s title track.
The record’s sleeve uses an altered version of the 1967 photograph of Marine Cpl. Michael Wynn in the Vietnam War from Emile de Antonio’s 1968 documentary In the Year of the Pig. The wording on his helmet was changed from “Make War Not Love” to “Meat Is Murder” for the sleeve.
Meat is Murder had only one official single in the melancholic “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”.
The track “Barbarism Begins at Home” did however see limited release as a single in Germany and Italy.
Most notably the song “How Soon Is Now?”, which was originally released as the B-side of “William, It Was Really Nothing”, was added to North American editions of Meat Is Murder after becoming popular via club and radio play. The song would later be included on WEA re-issues of the album from 1992 onward.
In 2016, The Smiths released an online 8-bit game in collaboration with PETA and This Is Pop entitled “This Beautiful Creature Must Die,” based on the album’s title track “Meat Is Murder”. The objective is for players to save chickens, cows, pigs, and turkeys from slaughter, as they tumble the screen toward bloody blades.