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"What Difference Does It Make?"
Song by The Smiths
from the album The Smiths
Released16 January 1984
RecordedLate 1983
Length3:51 (album version)
3:25 (single edit)
LabelRough Trade
Songwriter(s)Johnny Marr, Morrissey
Producer(s)John Porter
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg[1]

"What Difference Does It Make?" is a 1984 single by British band The Smiths. The single version can be found on the band's self-titled debut album The Smiths. A different version recorded for the John Peel Show on BBC Radio One is featured on the compilation album Hatful of Hollow.

Morrissey has stated that "What Difference Does It Make?" is among his least favourite Smiths songs.[2] However, it became one of the band's first significant chart hits, peaking at No. 12 in the UK.

The song is recognised by the opening riff by guitarist Johnny Marr and the falsetto by Morrissey towards the end of the song.

The character Ray Smith in the Jack Kerouac novel, The Dharma Bums, repeatedly says "What difference does it make?" as well as "Pretty Girls Make Graves."

Cover artwork[]

The single cover is a photograph taken on the set of the film The Collector (but not depicted in the actual film), based on the novel by John Fowles. In fact, the title could be a reference to a line from the film: "What difference does a few specimens make to an entire species?" Originally Terence Stamp denied permission for the still to be used, and some pressings featured lead singer Morrissey in a re-enacted scene. In the re-enactment Morrissey is holding a glass of milk, as opposed to a chloroform pad in the original. Eventually, however, Stamp changed his mind, and the covers featuring Morrissey are now very rare and collectible.

Music video[]

"What Difference Does It Make?" was released without an accompanying music video. Speaking to Tony Fletcher on The Tube in 1984, Morrissey remarked that he felt that the video market was something that was going to "die very quickly", and that he wanted to "herald the death" of it.[3]

Track listing[]

  • in original green sleeve


  • Morrissey – lead vocals
  • Johnny Marr – lead guitar, keyboard
  • Andy Rourke – bass guitar
  • Mike Joyce – drums


Chart Peak
Ireland (IRMA) 12
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 12


  1. "What Difference Does it Make rating". Allmusic. Retrieved on 29 October 2012.
  2. Critical Discography – What Difference Does It Make? Archived 22 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  3. The Tube interview with Tony Fletcher 27 January 1984. Channel 4. The Haçienda, Manchester

External links[]

  • Template:MetroLyrics song

Template:The Smiths