Formed in Manchester in 1982, The Smiths are composed of Steven Morrissey as their vocalist, Johnny Marr as their guitarist, bassist Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce as their drummer. In 2002, The Smiths were hailed as “the most influential artist ever” and was included in the Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The Smith’s had several songs that entered the top twenty of the UK Singles chart and all of the albums they released reached the top five on the UK Albums chart.
Before The Smiths were formed in 1982, Johnny Marr had been playing with different rock and roll bands in Manchester. Eventually, Marr felt that he should form his own band and he found himself standing in front of Steven Morrissey’s doorstep and he asked him if he wants to be part of a band with him and their friend Steve Pomfret. A few days later, Steven Morrissey and Johnny Marr started rehearsing on Marr’s attic in Bowdon. They began writing songs and recording demos. They eventually called themselves The Smiths and recruited Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce as their bassist and drummer.
They made their live debut in 1982 and earned a small fanbase in Manchester. And they recorded the songs “What Differences Does It Make”, “Miserable Lie”, and “Handsome Devil” and included it on their audition tape for EMI records. Unfortunately, EMI turned them down. The Smith’s then rejected a recording contract with Mancunian Factory Records and signed with Rough Trade records instead. They then recorded their single “Hand in Glove” which became an underground hit in the UK. The song topped the indie charts and earn praises by the UK music weeklies. They had a series of studio session with Peel and David Jensen at BBC Radio 1 and The Smiths started to gain a dedicated fan base.
- How Soon Is Now
- There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
- This Charming Man
- The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
- Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
- Hand In Glove
- Girlfriend In A Coma
- I Know It’s Over
- Big Mouth Strikes Again
- Heaven Knows I’m Miserable
- Half A Person
- Well I Wonder
- Sheila Takes A Bow
- Pretty Girls Makes Graves
The Smith’s debut studio album came out on February 20, 1984, under Rough Trade records. This album received positive reviews from the critics and the public. The Smiths was able to grab the number two spot on the UK Albums Chart and stayed in there for 33 weeks. This was the Smith’s breakthrough album which put them in the 1980’s UK music scene. This album also ranked in the number 22 spot on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 greatest album in the 1980’s.
Meat is Murder
Meat is Murder was The Smith’s second studio album that was released on February 11, 1985, under Rough Trade Records. It was The Smith’s first and only album that reached the top spot in the UK Albums chart and stayed there for 13 weeks. Steve Morrissey and Johnny Marr produced this album by themselves with a little help from engineer Stephen Street. Meat is Murder reached a gold status in the UK with sales of more than 100,000 copies.
The Queen is Dead
The Smith’s third studio album, The Queen is Dead, was released on June 16, 1986, under Rough Trade Records and was released on June 23, 1986, in the United States by Sire Records. The Queen is Dead spent twenty-two weeks on the UK Albums Chart and reached as far as the number two spot. It also entered in the 70th spot on the US Billboard 200. This album featured the singles “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”, “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side”, and “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”. It became a certified gold album in the UK in the late 1990 and on 2013, The Queen is Dead was named by NME as the greatest album of all time.
Strangeways, Here We Come
Strangeways, Here We Come was The Smith’s fourth and final album and it was released on September 28, 1987, under Rough Trade Records. Strangeways, Here We Come reached the number two spot on the UK Albums Chart and stayed in the charts for seventeen weeks. This album was listed by Slant Magazine on the 69th spot on their Best Albums of the 1980’s. This album also reached a certified gold status in the UK and the US. Strangeways, Here We Come featured the songs “I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish”, “Girlfriend in a Coma”, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”, and “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me”.
The Smiths have been a widely influential band. In fact, reporter Ian Youngs of BBC News described The Smiths as one of the bands that has inspired a deeper devotion since the Beatles. Q Magazine described The Smiths as the one true vital voice of the 80’s and the most influential British group of the decade.