The Smiths’ “Rubber Ring” Lyrics Meaning

“Rubber Ring” is a humbling Smiths’ experience, as the addressee would apparently be someone who has grown so successful or wise in their own eyes that they have forgotten their sentimental roots. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Smiths's Rubber Ring at

So Morrissey’s goal is to remind them, in his signature-brash way, of their earlier, more-vulnerable and lonelier days via harping on the songs that held them down back then.

Or let’s say that many of us have gone through an era in life where perhaps we related more to our favorites songs and musicians than we did our own family members. 

And it is that era of vulnerability, if you will, that The Smiths are calling back to mind, not only through dropping a memorable, dance-worthy tune but also reminding the “clever swine”, i.e. the adults who have forgotten that they were once troubled teenagers, that it is tracks such as these which helped them endure those periods. 

So with that in mind, it has been postulated that what the title of song points to those type of rubber rings that people float on in swimming pools, i.e. life preservers.

“The passing of time and all of its crimes
Is making me sad again
The passing of time and all of its sickening crimes
Is making me sad again
But don’t forget the songs that made you cry
And the songs that saved your life
Yes, you’re older now and you’re a clever swine
But they were the only ones who ever stood by you”

When was “Rubber Ring” released?

“Rubber Ring” officially hit the airways in 1985. It was featured on the playlist of two of the band’s 1987 compilation albums, “Louder Than Bombs” and “The World Won’t Listen”.


This tune was written and produced by Morrissey and Johnny Marr, who are both founding members of The Smiths.


In December 2011 US rock collective Girl in a Coma released their version of this song. By the way, Girl in a Coma derived their name from the Smiths’ song titled “Girlfriend in a Coma“.

Rubber Ring

The voice at the end of “Rubber Ring”

The voice you hear at the end of the song saying the following “you are sleeping, you do not want to believe” is derived from the work of the late Latvian writer and parapsychologist Konstantin Raudive. Konstantin was best known for his research into electronic voice phenomenon (EVP).

The voice was extracted from Konstantin’s “A General Introduction With Examples of the Voices” which was published in the early 1970s.

FYI: In the field of ghost hunting, electronic voice phenomenon are believed to be the voices of spirits found on certain electronic recordings. Raudive pioneered and propagated this idea.

1 Response

  1. Rock says:

    I always assumed the “rubber ring” was refering to some kind of fake or not durable marriage ring. Like a love between two is not solid. But definitely understood the meaning of the song.

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