Alternative rock out of Manchester. Good place for music it seems. Formed in 1982. Broke up in 1987.
Singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr wrote the music. After five years their relationship and partnership would implode.
The Smiths were never huge in the States, but they always seem to wind up on the soundtracks of good and hip indie films. 500 Days of Summer makes great use of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and especially “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.”
They have that elusive and sometimes confusing “cult band” moniker but have influenced countless contemporary indie and alternative bands.
I can’t recall who it was, but someone pretty famous dissed Morrissey for writing great titles and horrible songs… Then again, Morrissey has dissed everyone it seems. What is with these cranky musicians? Perhaps it adds to the mystique… Who knows.
One immediately hears Joy Division and Buzzcocks, but also influences of The Stones, The Beatles, New York Dolls and Bowie… The Smiths took all of that to create their own sound and made the kind of guitar rock that would dominate “English rock into the ’90s.”
Apparently Morrissey was a vegetarian, thus the title, but the rest of the band was not. It also seems he was a ornary bastard, but sometimes that self-absorption is what it takes to make Rock n’ Roll.
“The Headmaster Ritual” and “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” are two standout tracks on an album that did not do very well. But my favorites, and the two other standouts, are the yearning “I Want The One That I Can’t Have” and “How Soon Is Now.”
These both really define the band for me, musically and lyrically.
It’s funny, I did not really listen to a lot of The Smiths or Morrissey until later and actually seem to prefer the bands they have influenced over the band itself. There are things I appreciate and songs I love, but I’d rather take Railway Children (an SRM fave and worth a listen), Radiohead and Suede. The Beautiful South, another post-Smiths Brit band that came out of the ashes of the Housemartins and together in 1989, has a great song that will appear on the Music to Make Love To Playlist, so keep an eye out for that this week.
Anyway… the title aside, this seemed like a good Sunday listen… and is what came across the lap top as I was scanning for music.
So go eat healthy and listen to The Smiths.