“The Last of the Famous International Playboys” was the third single released by Morrissey. It reached number 6 in the UK Singles Chart. The song was not featured on one of Morrissey’s main studio albums, but can be found on the compilation album Bona Drag along with the B-side “Lucky Lisp”. The artwork for the single features Morrissey, aged 7, up a tree in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester—literally a boy at play. “The Last of the Famous International Playboys” is notable for featuring three of Morrissey’s former colleagues in The Smiths—Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce and one-time Smiths rhythm guitarist Craig Gannon—all of whom also appear on the B-side, “Lucky Lisp”.
The song mythologizes the notorious pair of vicious London gangsters known as the Kray twins (Ronnie and Reggie Kray), who held a tight rein on the East End of London during the 1960s.
NME gave the single a negative review, with Stuart Maconie saying the track was “‘Panic’ without the magnetism and the blinding self-confidence” and finished by saying “I would still chain myself to a disused railway line in Bacup for him, but the lad can do better” However in a retrospective review, Ned Raggett of AllMusic was much more favorable writing “Morrissey’s performance is grand and passionate”.
Morrissey – vocals
Craig Gannon – guitar
Neil Taylor – guitar
Andy Rourke – bass
Stephen Street – keyboards
Mike Joyce – drums