Personalities | The Smiths | Eighties | Rock
(Vocal/instrumental group, 1982–87)
Manchester’s finest coalesced around the songwriting pair of former journalist Stephen Patrick Morrissey (vocals) and Johnny Marr (guitar). Andy Rourke (bass) and Mike Joyce (drums) completed a team who became the darlings of bed-sit melancholics everywhere, and exerted a huge influence on indie rock over the following decades. Their mesmerizing blend of 1960s beat music and new wave artiness was driven by Marr’s ringing, inventive guitar, topped off by Morrissey’s idiosyncratic wail and clever, often drily humorous lyrics. In 1984, ‘What Difference Does It Make?’ went Top 20 and their self-titled debut album waltzed to No. 2. 1985’s Meat Is Murder went one better, while The Queen Is Dead from the following year broke America. The shimmering power of ‘How Soon Is Now’ represents one of the best singles of the decade. Tensions between Morrissey and Marr grew and a split in 1987 became inevitable. Both went on to strong solo careers.
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