Morrissey rocked up The Late Late Show on Wednesday night (Nov. 7) with a moody cover of “Back on the Chain Gang” from the upcoming deluxe double-vinyl edition of last year’s Low in High School (Dec. 7). The classic 1982 song by The Pretenders, the rock band’s biggest hit in the U.S., was transformed into a classic Moz melody by the eternally morose British alt rock icon.
A collection of giant glowing shield-like shapes pulsed behind the band in time with the drums. The 59-year-old former frontman of The Smiths — wearing a Morrissey button and a brown sport coat over a t-shirt with his face on it — clapped his hands as the opening, elastic electric guitar riff led him into the first verse. His five-man band were also very on message, with each member rocking a black shirt with the phrase “Living Bodies That Actually Move” written across their chests.
“I found a picture of you,” he sang in his deep, powerful voice over the song’s signature jangly guitars, “It hijacked my world that night/ From a place in the past/ We’ve been cast out of/ Now we’re back in the fight/ Yes, we’re back on the chain gang.”
Watch the singer share some spirit with the Late Late Show crowd below.