The Smiths

When budding guitarist Johnny Marr knocked on the door of alienated writer Stephen Morrissey in 1982 to see if he fancied starting a band, one of the most important partnerships in British rock history was born. Along with bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce, Morrissey and Marr officially formed The Smiths in 1983. Flouncing dramatically around the stage, waving gladioli at the crowd, Morrissey's crooning, awkward charisma, barbed outsider persona, and sexual ambiguity inspired an obsessive following while Marr's chiming, layered melodies made him one of the most innovative guitarists of his generation. Mixing everyday working-class grime with poetic romanticism and a genuine love of classic 1960s pop, singles “This Charming Man,”, “Hand In Glove,” and “Panic” turned the band into legendary indie icons. Even their B-sides – including “How Soon is Now” (later reissued as an A-side) and “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” – became classics. Albums The Smiths (1984), The Queen Is Dead (1986) and Strangeways, Here We Come (1987) all made it to Number 2 in the UK charts with Meat Is Murder (1985) giving them their only Number 1. The band’s compilation albums Hatful of Hollow (1984), The World Won’t Listen (1987) and Louder Than Bombs (1987) were also big sellers. Amid clashing egos and bitter rows over royalties, the band split in 1987 with Morrissey going on to have a successful - and controversial - solo career. Marr contributed to several bands (Electronic and The The) before embarking on a career as a solo artist. Both Rourke and Joyce sued Morrissey and Marr in 1989 over royalties, which caused even more friction between the former bandmates and ensured that a full Smiths reunion would never happen. Bassist Andy Rourke died from pancreatic cancer on May 19, 2023, at the age of 59.

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Stations Featuring The Smiths

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