The Smiths were a controversial addition to the bill as they were deemed to be too popular by the hardcore new age travelers who were the core audience at this time. I think The Smiths managed only two top ten singles in their lifetime so it wasn't like putting on Duran Duran!
The gatefold photo from Hatful of Hollow was taken backstage at Glastonbury before the gig.
These are Johnny Marr thoughts on the performance:
"...When the Smiths played Glastonbury in 1984, we were slightly out of our element. Previously, we'd always played to manic, devoted audiences who were more like supporters at a cup final, but at Glastonbury we were playing to people who largely hadn't seen us before. It wasn't like when Jay-Z played, but we were very "urban" compared to the other acts. Our songs were so fast that we got through our first four in about the time it took for the other bands to finish their intro. Eventually, I did manage to instigate a stage invasion, which raised a few eyebrows. One fan was trying to climb on stage, I helped pull him up, and then a few more people followed, and all of a sudden we'd managed to turn it into a Smiths gig.
What people don't realise is how mellow and low-key Glastonbury used to be. It wasn't televised, and it wasn't a career-defining moment back then. You'd turn up to find just three fields – and they would be by no means full. You had a choice between the shit field, the field no one cares about, or the muddy one. Today's video screens would have seemed like an utter abomination.
Glastonbury's rise in popularity has a lot to do with rave culture. People were getting together in warehouses at the end of motorways just to avoid the police, and then they realised Glastonbury offered thousands of people a chance to get together legally. Suddenly, Glastonbury no longer seemed an outdated idea, whereas in the 80s, it had been caught between the ideals of the 70s and something which had yet to be defined.
Worst Glastonbury moment The first 10 minutes of the Smiths' performance in 84, because the sound got screwed up on stage. My guitar was coming out of the bass amp, and the vocals were, too. They pulled things together . . . by the time of the last song...."
- Nowhere Fast
- Girl Afraid
- Handsome Devil
- This Charming Man
- William, It Was Really Nothing
- Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
- Still Ill
- Barbarism Begins At Home
- Hand in Glove
CND Festival, Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, Somerset, England 23rd June 1984.