The Smiths

The Smiths Biography

The Smiths

One of the most well-liked and highly regarded English bands of the 1980s was The Smiths. Lead vocalist Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke, and drummer Mike Joyce made up the band‘s original lineup.

The Smiths, leading exponents of British alternative rock, were founded by singer-lyricist Morrissey, a reclusive bookworm who drew inspiration from both Oscar Wilde and his glam-rock idols the New York Dolls, and rising guitar star Marr. The band, which included bassist Rourke and drummer Joyce, debuted on the Manchester music scene and rapidly gained a cult following thanks to live performances, recordings for BBC radio, and their incisive folk-punk first single, “Hand in Glove.” The Smiths achieved several U.K. singles after being signed to renowned independent label Rough Trade, most notably “This Charming Man” and “What Difference Does It Make?” Morrissey became a bizarre idol thanks to his theatrical stage appearance, melancholy singing, and compellingly conflicted image (loudly stated celibacy countered by delicate suggestions of closeted homosexuality), and songs like “Still Ill” cemented his position as a spokesperson for disenfranchised youth. But some critical critics branded the Smiths as “miserabilists” due to Morrissey’s “woe is me” attitude.

The Smiths released Meat Is Murder in 1985, an unsatisfactory album that ranged from the pompous title track’s vegan wrath to the plaintive “Well I Wonder.” This followed their outstanding eponymous debut and the scintillating radio-session collection Hatful of Hollow (both released in 1984). The Smiths became advocates for individuals who were alienated by Tory consumerism and repulsed by its representation in pop music thanks to the group’s notable turn from the personal to the political and Morrissey’s carefully cultivated outsider image (glossy, lyrically inane funk and soul). The smash song “Panic,” with its divisive lyric, “Burn down the disco / Hang the blessed DJ,” was emblematic of The Smiths’ non-rhythm-and-blues, whiter-than-white rejection of modern dance pop. The Smiths abandoned Rough Trade for the marketing power of the major label EMI after their 1986 album The Queen Is Dead, which was their most perfect fusion of personal angst and public rage. The Smiths were upset that none of their singles had reached the top 10. (in the United States they remained with Sire Records). The band abruptly disbanded prior to the 1987 publication of Strangeways, Here We Come, their final album for Rough Trade.

With 1988’s Viva Hate (on which guitar prodigy Vini Reilly served as a respectable Bob Marr substitute), Morrissey’s solo career got off to a promising start. However, on subsequent singles and 1991’s Kill Uncle, Morrissey, backed by an unremarkable rockabilly band, devolved into tuneless self-parody. His inspiration returned with the subtle Vauxhall and I (1994) and the glam-rock-influenced Your Arsenal (1992). These albums, as well as the less noteworthy Southpaw Grammar (1995) and Maladjusted (1997), attested to a growing homoerotic obsession with criminals, skinheads, and boxers. This change was mirrored by a change in the singer’s appearance from wilting wallflower to would-be thug sporting sideburns and gold bracelets. After a seven-year break, fans and critics enthusiastically praised You Are the Quarry (2004)’s politics and tragedy, Ringleader of the Tormentors (2006)’s fine craftsmanship, and Years of Refusal’s assuredness (2009). However, his latter albums, such as Low in High School (2017) and I Am Not a Dog on a Chain (2020), garnered less favorable reviews. Despite Morrissey’s stylistic changes in the decades that followed the dissolution of the Smiths, his status as a true pop pioneer survived.

Even if Marr’s post-Smiths career lacked the theatricality of Morrissey’s, it was nevertheless fruitful. Marr joined Matt Johnson in The The after being drawn once more to a charismatic singer with a predilection for dark lyrics. His unique sound powered two of that band’s most popular albums, Mind Bomb (1989) and Dusk (1991). In the supergroup Electronic, Marr collaborated with Bernard Sumner from New Order. Although Marr and Sumner first intended for their collaboration to be short-lived, the 1989 song “Getting Away with It’s” success gave the duo the motivation to create three well-received dance albums. After the Smiths split up more than ten years ago, Marr started his own band, the Healers. However, due to distribution problems, the band’s debut album took three years to reach stores as Boomslang (2003). Marr then joined the British rock band the Cribs and American alternative rock band Modest Mouse, contributing to their successful 2007 album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. In 2013, he released The Messenger, his first official solo album. Playland (2014) and Call the Come (2018)t, two more songs from his solo career.

Discography

RankSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Strangeways, Here We ComeSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
The Queen Is DeadSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Meat Is MurderSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
The SmithsSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Smiths?

The Smiths are a rock band that formed in Manchester, England in 1982. The band consisted of lead singer Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce.

When Did The Smiths Break Up?

The Smiths officially broke up in 1987, though they had effectively stopped recording and touring together a year earlier. The split was amicable, and the band’s four members have all gone on to successful solo careers.

What Is The Smiths Genre ?

What Is The Biggest Hit By The Smiths?

The biggest hit by The Smiths is undoubtedly “How Soon Is Now?” which was released in 1984. The song peaked at number 24 on the UK Singles Chart and has since been widely regarded as one of the band’s best-known and most influential tracks. “How Soon Is Now?” has been covered by a number of artists, including Nine Inch Nails and The Cure, and has been featured in a number of films and television shows.

Why Did The Smiths Break Up?

The Smiths broke up in 1987, just four years after they formed. The main reason for the break-up was the strained relationship between Morrissey and Johnny Marr, the band’s principle songwriters. The two had different creative visions for the band, and clashed over what direction the band should take. Morrissey wanted to pursue a more pop-oriented sound, while Marr wanted to keep the band’s sound more rooted in alternative rock. The disagreements between the two eventually became too much, and they decided to go their separate ways.

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