The Smiths

British rock band

The Smiths were an English rock band from Manchester. They formed in 1982 and split up in 1987. They released four studio albums. The band consisted of Morrissey (singing), Johnny Marr (guitar), Andy Rourke (bass) and Mike Joyce (drums). Critics have called them the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s. Q magazine writer Simon Goddard wrote that The Smiths were the one truly important group of the 1980s, "the most influential British guitar group of the decade" and the first independent group to become successful in the main music scene.

The Smiths
Morrisey, the lead singer of The Smiths in 2007
Morrisey, the lead singer of The Smiths in 2007
Background information
OriginManchester, England
GenresJangle pop, Indie pop, indie rock, post-punk, alternative rock
Years active1982–1987
LabelsRough Trade
Warner Bros. Records
Johnny Marr
Andy Rourke
Mike Joyce
Past member(s)
Craig Gannon
Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce

The band was based on the songwriting partnership of Morrissey and Marr. They signed to the independent record label Rough Trade Records. On this, they released four studio albums: The Smiths (1984), Meat Is Murder (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986) and Strangeways, Here We Come (1987). They have also released several compilations, and many singles that were not released on any of their studio albums.

The Smiths had several singles reach the UK top twenty. All four of their albums reached the UK top five, including one which topped the charts. They won a large following of fans. The band had limited commercial success outside the UK while they were still together. The band broke up in 1987 and have refused several offers to reunite.[1]

The music focuses on a guitar, bass and drum sound. They blend 1960s rock and post-punk. This sounded very different to the synthesiser-based contemporary dance pop that was popular in the early 1980s. Marr's guitar playing on his Rickenbacker often had a jangly sound influenced by Roger McGuinn of the 1960s group The Byrds. It influenced later bands from Manchester, such as The Stone Roses and Oasis. Morrissey's lyrics combined stories about ordinary people's lives with a sense of humour.

Band members





  1. "Morrissey: Smiths Turned Down Millions to Reunite". Billboard.
  2. Blakey, Ashlie. "The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke dies after battle with pancreatic cancer". Manchester Evening News.

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