Gigs of Glasgow: Remembering the night The Smiths played the QM Union in Glasgow 40 years ago

The Smiths played one of the most memorable gigs in the history of the Queen Margaret Union in 1984
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Less than two weeks after The Smiths released their debut self-titled album on Rough Trade Records in 1984, the band headed to Glasgow for a gig at the Queen Margaret Union.

Upon release, the album which featured a photograph of American actor Joe D'Allesandro in a cropped still from on the front cover, debuted at number two in the UK album charts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 1984 tour was called 'The Smiths Tour' with the bands setlist on the night being made up of tunes from the new album such as "What Difference Does It Make?", "Reel Around the Fountain" and "This Charming Man"

Mark Graham was the QM President at the time of the gig and told GlasgowWorld about his memories of the memorable gig saying: "Mark Mackie was the Events Convenor of the QM at the time and it was him who identified The Smiths and brought them to the QM Union - the first of 40 years of bringing huge bands to Scotland.

"The QM always closed at 4pm when there was a band on, especially when it was a sell out. Around 4.30pm, a guy came to the front door. I told him he couldn't get in as there was a show on before he told me he was the drummer. No one had ever really seen The Smiths before as it was their first proper tour so although most people knew what Morrisey and Johnny Marr looked like, I had no idea what the drummer looked like but he eventually persuaded me to let him in.

"The sell out gig to an audience of 1,100 was filmed with an old video camera by a guy I knew. I saw it after the show but I've no idea what happened to it. Occasionally the audio of the show pops up on YouTube but it always gets taken down.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It was the most money we'd ever paid for a band at the QM and they were pretty unknown when Mark booked them but the gig sold out in a matter of minutes.

"Morrissey was a really lovely guy, as were all the bands. Before the gig I was back stage with him and Mark as he wanted his own dressing room as the rest of the band were 'too rock n' roll' but he didn't want to be alone so we spent some time with him before the show.

"The rider included three boxes of gladioli and as we didn't know what to do with them at the end of the show we threw them into the crowd from behind the PA which the cleaners went mad at the next day. Till this day, it remains one of my top five best gigs of all time!"

Only a few months later, The Smiths would return to Glasgow to perform at the Barrowland Ballroom with the band making their final appearance in the city there in July 1986.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.