The Smiths are one of my favourite bands EVER. When I first heard their lyrics (back in 1984 or 85) I could barely believe my ears. No one sang about going to a club on their own, where "you stand on your own and you leave on your own and you go home, and you cry and you want to die"; no one but Morrissey, that is. And the music, written by the amazing Johnny Marr, can be both hauntingly beautiful like in the song those words are taken from How Soon is Now, or joyously poppy, like the (purposely misspelt) Cemetry Gates.
I've just finished reading "A Light That Never Goes Out. The Enduring Saga of the Smiths", all about the band, their lives, personalities and career, and I absolutely loved it. It is a must read for any Smiths fan or anyone interested in music and group dynamics. Although I have all their albums, a good many singles, and have read countless articles about them, there was an awful lot I didn't know about the Smiths, and that I enjoyed reading about in this book.
I consider myself to be very fortunate for having seen the Smiths play live—twice. After the first show at The Palladium in London (October 1986) I remember thinking that my air fare to England, if only for seeing that show, had been well worth the expense. From today's perspective, knowing they would never come to Australia, even more so. I saw them again at the Brixton Academy later the same year—it was their last ever show.
I am not ashamed to say that many of their songs still make me cry. They remind me of that time in my life, in my 20s when I thought I would never find love, when I thought I would always be alone. Morrissey's lyrics are poignant, but also clever and witty, and often laugh out loud funny. He has inspired me in many ways from influencing my writing, to my decision to become a vegetarian after the release of Meat is Murder. The paring of him with Johnny Marr is an example of the whole becoming greater than its individual parts. Their songs are simply some of the best ever written. Add Andy Rourke on bass and Mike Joyce on drums and you have a band for the ages.
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