The Smiths are another of my favourite Manchester bands and as I have said before, you have to support your own. I think I initially started listening to The Smiths when What Difference Does It Make came out in 1983 and I thought Morrissey had one of the most interesting voices and lyrical styles which were not the usual sort popular at the time. Some people think that The Smiths were a depressing band with very boring lyrics but I think I connected with them because of that. I like to be unique and different which I think is reflected by some of the music I listen to. I do think some of the songs contain very emotional lyrics but I wouldn’t say they were too depressing or boring and actually quite funny.
I also tend to sway more towards the bands who actually play instruments and are not all computer generated, but not always as I do listen to a very varied music library. I would have liked to have seen The Smiths live, but like when I was sneaked into the Hacienda to watch The Stone roses I never got the opportunity to do this with The Smiths.
The Smiths were formed in 1992 in Manchester, England by Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce and Dave Hibbert. Dave was replaced after only a couple of gigs by one of Johnny’s friends Andy Rourke. Craig Gannon also was one of the bands early guitarists. They named themselves The Smiths in a kind of retaliation to what other bands of the time were naming themselves and in an interview Morrissey said “I decided to call ourselves The Smiths because it was the most ordinary name, and I think it’s time that the ordinary folk of the world showed their faces.”
The self titled debut album “The Smiths” was released in 1984 and rose to #2 in the UK album chart. There were a couple of controversial songs on the album which met with some bad press like Reel Around the Fountain which some people believe is about pedophilia and the song Suffer Little Children which was related to the Moors Murders of the 1960’s.
Meat Is Murder which was released in the early part of 1985 contained some more political and philosophical songs such as the song Meat Is Murder which obviously is about pro-vegetarianism, The Headmaster Ritual which was about anti-corporal punishment and also Barbarism Begins At Home. Meat Is Murder is the only studio album to reach #1 on the album chart.
There were 2 other studio albums released which were The Queen Is Dead which contained the hits Bigmouth Strikes Again, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side and Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others and also Strangeways, Here We Come which contained the controversial song Shoplifters Of The World Unite. Many parents objected to the song as they believed it was encouraging children to steal.
The Smiths have influenced many of today’s groups including Radiohead, Bloc Party, The Cranberries, The Stone Roses, The Killers, Blur, Oasis, Doves, Belle And Sebastian and The Verve. Morrissey has also had his own very lucrative solo career.
My Top 10 Smiths Songs are:
02. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
03. Still Ill
04. Shoplifters Of The World Unite
05. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
06. This Charming Man
07. Bigmouth Strikes Again
08. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
09. How Soon Is Now
10. Reel Around The Fountain
Source by Andy Jackson