Morrissey
Overview
Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959), known as Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 band The Smiths
The Smiths
The Smiths were an English alternative rock band, formed in Manchester in 1982. Based on the song writing partnership of Morrissey and Johnny Marr , the band also included Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce...

. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career, making the top ten of the UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

 on ten occasions. Widely regarded as an important innovator in indie music, Morrissey has been described by music magazine NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

 as "one of the most influential artists ever," and The Independent has stated "most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status he has reached in his lifetime." Pitchfork Media
Pitchfork Media
Pitchfork Media, usually known simply as Pitchfork or P4k, is a Chicago-based daily Internet publication established in 1995 that is devoted to music criticism and commentary, music news, and artist interviews. Its focus is on underground and independent music, especially indie rock...

 has called him "one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture from the last twenty years."

Morrissey's lyrics have been described as "dramatic, bleak, funny vignettes
Vignette (literature)
In theatrical script writing, sketch stories, and poetry, a vignette is a short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or gives a trenchant impression about a character, an idea, or a setting and sometimes an object...

 about doomed relationships, lonely nightclubs, the burden of the past and the prison of the home." He is also noted for his unique baritone
Baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

 vocal style (though he sometimes uses falsetto), his quiff
Quiff
The quiff is a hairstyle that combines the 1950s pompadour hairstyle, the 50s flattop, and sometimes a mohawk. The etymology of the word is uncertain but may derive from the French word "coiffe" which can mean either a hairstyle or, going further back, the mail knights wore over their heads and...

 haircut and his dynamic live performances.
Quotations

And if a double-decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.And if a ten ton truck kills the both of us, to die by your side, the pleasure, the privilege is mine.

from the 1986 song "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out"

So when you say it's gonna happen now.Well when exactly do you mean? See I've already waited too long. And all my hope is gone!

from the 1984 song "How Soon Is Now?"

I've been dreaming of a time whenThe English are sick to death of Labour and ToriesAnd spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell and denounce this royal line that still salutes himAnd will salute him forever.

from the 2004 song "Irish Blood, English Heart"

Why pamper life's complexity when the leather runs smooth on the passenger's seat?

from the 1984 song "This Charming Man"

In my lifeWhy do I smileAt people who I'd much rather kick in the eye ?

from the 1984 song "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"

I decree today that life is simply taking and not giving,England is mine and it owes me a living

from the song "Still Ill"

You shut your mouth,How can you say I go about things the wrong way?I am human and I need to be lovedJust like everybody else does

from the song "How Soon Is Now?"

There's a club if you'd like to go, you could meet somebody who really loves you,so you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own,and you go home and you cry and you want to die

from the song "How Soon Is Now?"

Hand in glove, the good people laugh, yes we may be hidden by rags,But we've something they'll never have

from the song "Hand In Glove"

There's more to life than books you know, but not much more

from the song "Handsome Devil"

Encyclopedia
Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959), known as Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 band The Smiths
The Smiths
The Smiths were an English alternative rock band, formed in Manchester in 1982. Based on the song writing partnership of Morrissey and Johnny Marr , the band also included Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce...

. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career, making the top ten of the UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

 on ten occasions. Widely regarded as an important innovator in indie music, Morrissey has been described by music magazine NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

 as "one of the most influential artists ever," and The Independent has stated "most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status he has reached in his lifetime." Pitchfork Media
Pitchfork Media
Pitchfork Media, usually known simply as Pitchfork or P4k, is a Chicago-based daily Internet publication established in 1995 that is devoted to music criticism and commentary, music news, and artist interviews. Its focus is on underground and independent music, especially indie rock...

 has called him "one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture from the last twenty years."

Morrissey's lyrics have been described as "dramatic, bleak, funny vignettes
Vignette (literature)
In theatrical script writing, sketch stories, and poetry, a vignette is a short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or gives a trenchant impression about a character, an idea, or a setting and sometimes an object...

 about doomed relationships, lonely nightclubs, the burden of the past and the prison of the home." He is also noted for his unique baritone
Baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

 vocal style (though he sometimes uses falsetto), his quiff
Quiff
The quiff is a hairstyle that combines the 1950s pompadour hairstyle, the 50s flattop, and sometimes a mohawk. The etymology of the word is uncertain but may derive from the French word "coiffe" which can mean either a hairstyle or, going further back, the mail knights wore over their heads and...

 haircut and his dynamic live performances. His forthright, often contrarian
Contrarian
In finance, a contrarian is one who attempts to profit by investing in a manner that differs from the conventional wisdom, when the consensus opinion appears to be wrong....

 opinions, especially on the subject of race, have led to a number of media controversies, and he has also attracted media attention for his advocacy of vegetarianism and animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

.

Early life: 1959–76

Morrissey was born on 22 May 1959 at Park Hospital in Davyhulme
Davyhulme
Davyhulme is a locality within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester, England. Historically part of Lancashire, it is contiguous with the town of Urmston....

, Lancashire to Irish Catholic parents who had emigrated to Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 from County Kildare
County Kildare
County Kildare is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Mid-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Kildare. Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county...

 with his only sibling, elder sister Jackie, a year prior to his birth. His father, Peter, was a hospital porter and his mother, Elizabeth (née Dwyer), was an assistant librarian. Morrissey was raised in inner-city Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

. His family first lived at Harper Street in Hulme before moving to nearby Queen's Square in 1965. In 1969, when many of the old streets and tenements were facing demolition, Morrissey's parents moved to a three-bedroomed house on King's Road in the suburb of Stretford
Stretford
Stretford is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, in Greater Manchester, England. Lying on flat ground between the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal, it is to the southwest of Manchester city centre, south-southwest of Salford and northeast of Altrincham...

.

As a child, Morrissey developed interests and role models that distinguished him from his peers, including female singers and pop stars like Dusty Springfield
Dusty Springfield
Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'BrienSources use both Isabel and Isobel as the spelling of her second name. OBE , known professionally as Dusty Springfield and dubbed The White Queen of Soul, was a British pop singer whose career extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s...

, Sandie Shaw
Sandie Shaw
Sandie Shaw is an English pop singer, who was one of the most successful British female singers of the 1960s. In 1967 she was the first UK act to win the Eurovision Song Contest...

, Marianne Faithfull
Marianne Faithfull
Marianne Evelyn Faithfull is an award-winning English singer, songwriter and actress whose career has spanned five decades....

, as well as Billy Fury
Billy Fury
Billy Fury, born Ronald William Wycherley , was an internationally successful English singer from the late-1950s to the mid-1960s, and remained an active songwriter until the 1980s. Rheumatic fever, which he first contracted as a child, damaged his heart and ultimately contributed to his death...

. He was interested in "kitchen sink"
Kitchen sink realism
Kitchen sink realism is a term coined to describe a British cultural movement which developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s in theatre, art, novels, film and television plays, whose 'heroes' usually could be described as angry young men...

 television drama, Coronation Street's
Coronation Street
Coronation Street is a British soap opera set in Weatherfield, a fictional town in Greater Manchester based on Salford. Created by Tony Warren, Coronation Street was first broadcast on 9 December 1960...

 Elsie Tanner
Elsie Tanner
Elsie Tanner is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera Coronation Street, played by Patricia Phoenix from 1960 to 1973 and from 1976 until 1984. Elsie Tanner was one of the original core characters on Coronation Street and appeared in the very first episode...

, actor James Dean
James Dean
James Byron Dean was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon, best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark...

 and authors Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

 and Shelagh Delaney
Shelagh Delaney
Shelagh Delaney, FRSL was an English dramatist and screenwriter, best-known for her debut work, A Taste of Honey ....

. The Moors Murders
Moors murders
The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around what is now Greater Manchester, England. The victims were five children aged between 10 and 17—Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans—at least...

 devastated and scandalised the city when the matter came to trial in 1966, and this collective trauma
Collective trauma
A collective trauma is a traumatic psychological effect shared by a group of people of any size, up to and including an entire society. Traumatic events witnessed by an entire society can stir up collective sentiment, often resulting in a shift in that society's culture and mass actions.Well known...

 is said to have made a profound and lasting impression on Morrissey.

In adolescence, Morrissey has said his athletic ability saved him to a large degree from bullying. Still, he has described this period as a time when he was often lonely and depressed. As a teenager, he began taking prescription drugs to help combat the depression that would later follow him throughout his life. He attended St. Mary's Secondary Modern School
Secondary modern school
A secondary modern school is a type of secondary school that existed in most of the United Kingdom from 1944 until the early 1970s, under the Tripartite System, and was designed for the majority of pupils - those who do not achieve scores in the top 25% of the eleven plus examination...

 and Stretford Technical School
Secondary Technical School
A Secondary Technical School was a type of secondary school in the United Kingdom that existed in the mid-20th century under the Tripartite System of education. For various reasons few were ever built, and their main interest is on a theoretical level....

, where he passed three O levels, including English Literature. He then worked briefly for the Inland Revenue
Inland Revenue
The Inland Revenue was, until April 2005, a department of the British Government responsible for the collection of direct taxation, including income tax, national insurance contributions, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, corporation tax, petroleum revenue tax and stamp duty...

, but ultimately decided to "go on the dole
Jobseeker's Allowance
Jobseeker's Allowance is a United Kingdom benefit, colloquially known as the dole . It is a form of unemployment benefit paid by the government to people who are unemployed and seeking work. It is part of the social security benefits system and is intended to cover living expenses while the...

."

Of his youth, Morrissey said, "Pop music was all I ever had, and it was completely entwined with the image of the pop star. I remember feeling the person singing was actually with me and understood me and my predicament." From 1974, he frequently wrote letters to music magazines like Melody Maker
Melody Maker
Melody Maker, published in the United Kingdom, was, according to its publisher IPC Media, the world's oldest weekly music newspaper. It was founded in 1926 as a magazine targeted at musicians; in 2000 it was merged into "long-standing rival" New Musical Express.-1950s–1960s:Originally the Melody...

 and the NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

, giving his opinions on various bands. Morrissey would sometimes go to see bands at in Manchester, the first being T. Rex
T. Rex (band)
T. Rex were a British rock band, formed in 1967 by singer/songwriter and guitarist Marc Bolan. The band formed as Tyrannosaurus Rex, releasing four folk albums under the name...

 at Belle Vue in 1972. He was taken there by his father, fearing for his safety in the notoriously rough district. Morrissey has described the occasion as "messianic and complete chaos."

Early bands and published books: 1977–81

During the 1970s, the teenage Morrissey was president of the UK branch of the New York Dolls
New York Dolls
The New York Dolls is an American rock band, formed in New York in 1971. The band's protopunk sound prefigured much of what was to come in the punk rock era; their visual style influenced the look of many new wave and 1980s-era glam metal groups, and they began the local New York scene that later...

 fan club. He articulated his love for the group in the documentary New York Doll
New York Doll
New York Doll is a documentary film based on the life of former New York Dolls member Arthur Kane. The film was nominated for both a Satellite Award and a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered in 2005...

: "Some bands grab you and they never let you go and, no matter what they do, they can never let you down ... the Dolls were that for me."
Morrissey was an early convert to punk rock
Punk rock
Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

. Morrissey, then still with forename, briefly fronted The Nosebleeds
The Nosebleeds
The Nosebleeds was a short-lived punk band formed in Wythenshawe, Manchester, England in 1976. Though the band never recorded an album and released just one single, it is well known in modern rock history for the later successes of its individual members...

 in 1978, who by that time included Billy Duffy
Billy Duffy
Billy Duffy is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known as the guitarist in The Cult.-Early days:He grew up in Manchester, where he began playing guitar at the age of fourteen...

 (later of The Cult
The Cult
The Cult are a British rock band that was formed in 1983. They gained a dedicated following in Britain in the mid 1980s as a post-punk band with singles such as "She Sells Sanctuary", before breaking mainstream in the United States in the late 1980s as a hard rock band with singles such as "Love...

) on guitar. They played a number of concerts, including one supporting Magazine
Magazine (band)
Magazine are an English post-punk group active from 1977 to 1981, then reformed in 2009. Their debut single, "Shot by Both Sides", is now acknowledged as a classic and their debut album, Real Life, is still widely admired as one of the greatest albums of all time...

, which was reviewed in the NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

 by Paul Morley
Paul Morley
Paul Morley is an English journalist, who wrote for the New Musical Express from 1977 to 1983, during one of its most successful periods, and has since written for a wide range of publications...

. Morrissey also founded The Cramps
The Cramps
The Cramps were an American rock band, formed in 1976 and active until 2009. The band split after the death of lead singer Lux Interior. Their line-up rotated much over their existence, with the husband and wife duo of Interior and lead guitarist Poison Ivy the only permanent members...

 fan club "The Legion of the Cramped" with another enthusiast for their music, Lindsay Hutton, but he progressively scaled down his involvement in the club over time because of the increasing amount of time he was devoting to his own musical career.

Morrissey wrote several songs with Duffy, such as "Peppermint Heaven," "I Get Nervous" and "(I Think) I'm Ready for the Electric Chair," but none were recorded during the band's short lifespan, which ended the same year. After The Nosebleeds' split, Morrissey followed Duffy to join Slaughter & the Dogs
Slaughter & The Dogs
Slaughter & The Dogs is an English punk rock band that formed in the late 1970s in Manchester, England. They were one of the first UK punk bands to sign for a major label, Decca Records.-Career:...

, briefly replacing original singer Wayne Barrett. He recorded four songs with the band and they auditioned for a record deal in London. After the audition fell through, Slaughter & the Dogs became Studio Sweethearts, without Morrissey.

The singer interrupted his music career at around this time, focusing instead on writing on popular culture. He published two works with Babylon Books: The New York Dolls (1981), about his favourite band; and James Dean is Not Dead (1983), about actor James Dean
James Dean
James Byron Dean was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon, best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark...

's brief career. A third book, Exit Smiling, which was actually written first (in 1980) and which dealt with obscure B movie
B movie
A B movie is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not definitively an arthouse or pornographic film. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified a film intended for distribution as the less-publicized, bottom half of a double feature....

 actors, was initially rejected and remained unpublished until 1998.

The Smiths: 1982–87

In early 1982, Morrissey met the guitarist Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr is an English musician and songwriter. Marr rose to fame in the 1980s as the guitarist in The Smiths, with whom he formed a prolific songwriting partnership with Morrissey. Marr has been a member of Electronic, The The, and Modest Mouse...

 and the two began a songwriting partnership: "We got on absolutely famously. We were very similar in drive."
After recording several demo tapes with future Fall drummer Simon Wolstencroft
Simon Wolstencroft
Simon Wolstencroft is a musician from Manchester, England, best known for playing drums with The Fall between June 1986 and August 1997.Wolstencroft was a member of an early incarnation of The Stone Roses; having previously been a member of The Weeds and The Colourfield. He was also drummer for...

, in autumn 1982 they recruited drummer Mike Joyce. They also added bass player Dale Hibbert, who provided the group with demo recording facilities at the studio where he worked as a factotum
Factotum
Factotum is the second novel by American author Charles Bukowski. The plot follows Henry Chinaski, Bukowski's alter ego, who has been rejected from the World War II draft and makes his way from one menial job to the next...

. However, after two gigs, Marr's friend Andy Rourke
Andy Rourke
Andy Rourke is a bass guitarist best known for being a former member of The Smiths.-Career:...

 replaced Hibbert on bass because neither Hibbert's bass playing nor his personality "meshed" with the rest of the group. Signing to independent record label
Independent record label
An independent record label is a record label operating without the funding of or outside the organizations of the major record labels. A great number of bands and musical acts begin on independent labels.-Overview:...

 Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade Records is an independent record label based in London. It was formed in 1978 by Geoff Travis who had opened a record store off Ladbroke Grove...

, they released their first single, "Hand in Glove
Hand in Glove
"Hand in Glove" is a song by the British alternative rock band The Smiths, written by singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr. It was released as the band's first single in May 1983 on independent record label Rough Trade Records. "Hand in Glove" peaked at number three on the UK Indie Chart,...

", in May 1983. It was championed by DJ John Peel
John Peel
John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE , known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004...

, as were all their later singles, but it failed to chart. The follow-up singles "This Charming Man
This Charming Man
"This Charming Man" is a song by the English band The Smiths, written by guitarist Johnny Marr and singer/lyricist Morrissey. It was released as the group's second single in October 1983 on the independent record label Rough Trade...

" and "What Difference Does It Make?
What Difference Does It Make?
"What Difference Does It Make?" is a 1984 single by British band The Smiths. The single version can be found on the band's self-titled debut album The Smiths...

" fared better when they reached numbers 25 and 12 respectively on the UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

. Aided by praise from the music press and a series of studio sessions for Peel and David Jensen
David Jensen
David "Kid" Jensen , is a Danish Canadian-born, British radio DJ.-Early career:Born in a Danish family residing Victoria, British Columbia, Jensen began his career in his home country at the age of sixteen playing jazz and classical music. He then joined Radio Luxembourg at the age of eighteen in...

 at BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

, The Smiths began to acquire a dedicated fan base. In February 1984, they released their debut album, The Smiths
The Smiths (album)
Before their debut album, single "What Difference Does It Make?" was released in January 1984. The track peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart. Released in February 1984, The Smiths debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart....

, which reached number two on the UK Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
The UK Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales in the United Kingdom. It is compiled every week by The Official Charts Company and broadcast on a Sunday on BBC Radio 1 , and published in Music Week magazine and on the OCC website .To qualify for the UK albums chart...

.

In 1984, the band released two non-album singles: "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" is a single by The Smiths that reached #10 on the UK Singles Chart in June 1984 before its inclusion on the compilation album, Hatful of Hollow...

" (their first UK top-ten hit) and "William, It Was Really Nothing
William, It Was Really Nothing
"William, It Was Really Nothing" is a song by British band The Smiths. It was released as a single on 24 August 1984, featuring the B-sides "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" and "How Soon Is Now?", and reached number 17 in the UK Singles Chart...

". The year ended with the compilation album Hatful of Hollow
Hatful of Hollow
-The Smiths:* Morrissey – vocals* Johnny Marr – guitars, harmonica, mandolin* Andy Rourke – bass guitar* Mike Joyce – drums-Technical staff:* John Porter – producer* The Smiths – producers* Roger Pusey – producer* Dale "Buffin" Griffin – producer...

. This collected singles, B-sides and the versions of songs that had been recorded throughout the previous year for the Peel and Jensen shows. Early in 1985 the band released their second album, Meat is Murder
Meat Is Murder
Meat Is Murder is the second studio album by the English alternative rock band The Smiths. It was released in February 1985 and became the band's sole number one album in the UK charts during the band's lifetime, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. It reached number 110 in the US...

, which was their only studio album to top the UK charts. The single-only release "Shakespeare's Sister" reached number 26 on the UK Singles Chart, though the only single taken from the album, "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore", was less successful, barely making the top 50.

During 1985, the band undertook lengthy tours of the UK and the US while recording the next studio record, The Queen is Dead
The Queen Is Dead
The Queen Is Dead is the third studio album by the English alternative rock band The Smiths. It was released on 16 June 1986 in the United Kingdom by Rough Trade Records and released in the United States on 23 June 1986 through Sire Records. The album reached #2 on the UK Albums Chart, maintaining...

. The album was released in June 1986, shortly after the single "Bigmouth Strikes Again
Bigmouth Strikes Again
"Bigmouth Strikes Again" is a song by The Smiths. It appears on their third album The Queen Is Dead and was the lead single from the album, reaching #26 in the UK Singles Chart in 1986...

". The record reached number two in the UK charts. However, all was not well within the group. A legal dispute with Rough Trade had delayed the album by almost seven months (it had been completed in November 1985), and Marr was beginning to feel the stress of the band's exhausting touring and recording schedule. Meanwhile, Rourke was fired in early 1986 for his use of heroin. Rourke was temporarily replaced on bass guitar by Craig Gannon
Craig Gannon
Craig Gannon , is an English guitar player. Previously best known for being the second guitarist in The Smiths, he is now a composer for film and television.-Career:...

, but he was reinstated after only a fortnight. Gannon stayed in the band, switching to rhythm guitar. This five-piece recorded the singles "Panic" and "Ask
Ask (song)
Later re-releases of the "Ask" single would include the album version, which runs for 3:15, instead of the single version included on the original pressings.-Etchings on vinyl:UK 7" and 12":ARE YOU LOATHESOME TONIGHT? / TOMB IT MAY CONCERNGerman 12":...

" (with Kirsty MacColl
Kirsty MacColl
Kirsty Anna MacColl was an English singer-songwriter.MacColl scored several pop hits from the early 1980s to the early 1990s...

 on backing vocals) which reached numbers 11 and 14 respectively on the UK Singles Chart, and toured the UK. After the tour ended in October 1986, Gannon left the band. The group had become frustrated with Rough Trade and sought a record deal with a major label, ultimately signing with EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

, which drew criticism from the band's fanbase.

In early 1987, the single "Shoplifters of the World Unite
Shoplifters of the World Unite
"Shoplifters of the World Unite" is a song by The Smiths. It was released as a single in January 1987, reaching #12 in the UK Singles Chart. As was often the case with Smiths singles, it did not appear on an original studio album...

" was released and reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart. It was followed by a second compilation, The World Won't Listen
The World Won't Listen
-Band:* Morrissey – vocals* Johnny Marr – guitars, keyboard instruments, bass guitar on "Golden Lights"* Andy Rourke – bass guitar, cello on "Shakespeare's Sister" and "Oscillate Wildly"* Mike Joyce – drums...

, which reached number two in the charts – and the single "Sheila Take a Bow
Sheila Take a Bow
"Sheila Take a Bow" is a song by The Smiths. It was released as a single in April 1987, reaching #10 in the UK Singles Chart, their highest chart placing in their career....

," the band's second (and last during the band's lifetime) UK top-10 hit. Despite their continued success, personal differences within the band – including the increasingly strained relationship between Morrissey and Marr – saw them on the verge of splitting. In July 1987, Marr left the group and auditions to find a replacement proved fruitless.

By the time the group's fourth album Strangeways, Here We Come
Strangeways, Here We Come
-Band:* Morrissey – vocals, piano on "Death of a Disco Dancer"* Johnny Marr – guitar, keyboards, harmonica, autoharp , synthesized strings and saxophone arrangements* Andy Rourke – bass guitar* Mike Joyce – drums-Additional musicians:...

 was released in September, the band had split up. The breakdown in the relationship has been primarily attributed to Morrissey's annoyance with Marr's work with other artists and to Marr's growing frustration with Morrissey's musical inflexibility. Strangeways peaked at number two in the UK, but was only a minor US hit, though it was more successful there than the band's previous albums.

Solo career: 1988–97

In March 1988, a mere six months after the Smiths' final album, Morrissey released his first solo album, Viva Hate
Viva Hate
Viva Hate is Morrissey's debut solo album, released on 14 March 1988 by HMV Records. The album was considered a very strong foray into Morrissey's solo career, as he utilised his traditional lyrical style and retained the basic sound that The Smiths had developed by the time they broke up. It...

. To create the album, Morrissey teamed up with former Smiths producer Stephen Street
Stephen Street
Stephen Street is an English music producer best known for his work with The Smiths in the 1980s, as well as Blur and The Cranberries in the 1990s. Street also collaborated with Morrissey on some of his most popular work after The Smiths broke up, playing instruments and co-writing songs...

, Vini Reilly
Vini Reilly
Vincent "Vini" Gerard Reilly is an English musician and leader of the post-punk group The Durutti Column.-Biography:...

 of Durutti Column (and formerly of the Nosebleeds
The Nosebleeds
The Nosebleeds was a short-lived punk band formed in Wythenshawe, Manchester, England in 1976. Though the band never recorded an album and released just one single, it is well known in modern rock history for the later successes of its individual members...

), and drummer Andrew Paresi
Andrew Paresi
Born in Chiswick in 1961, Andrew McGibbon is an English comedian, actor, writer, musician and composer. He has also produced and directed extensively, chiefly for radio.-Education:...

. Viva Hate reached number one upon release, supported by the singles "Suedehead
Suedehead
"Suedehead" was the debut solo single from Morrissey, released in February 1988.The single charted higher than any of the singles released by his former band The Smiths, reaching number five in the UK Singles Chart. It charted at #30 in The Netherlands and at #8 in New Zealand...

" and "Everyday Is Like Sunday
Everyday Is Like Sunday
"Everyday Is Like Sunday" is the third track of Morrissey's debut solo album, Viva Hate, and the second single to be released by the artist. It made number nine in the UK Singles Chart and remains one of his best-known songs...

". Viva Hate was certified Gold by the RIAA on 16 November 1993.

Morrissey initially planned to release a follow-up album entitled Bona Drag
Bona Drag
- 2010 re-release :The 2010 re-release features the following additional tracks:* "Happy Lovers at Last United" * "Lifeguard on Duty"...

 after releasing a few holdover singles from the Viva Hate sessions. As such, he released "The Last of the Famous International Playboys
The Last of the Famous International Playboys
"The Last of the Famous International Playboys" was the third single released by Morrissey. It reached number 6 in the UK Singles Chart. The song was not featured on one of Morrissey's main studio albums, but can be found on the compilation album Bona Drag along with the B-side "Lucky Lisp"...

," "Interesting Drug
Interesting Drug
"Interesting Drug" was the fourth solo single released by Morrissey. The song was not featured on one of Morrissey's main studio albums, but can be found on the compilation album Bona Drag along with the B-side "Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference"...

," and "Ouija Board, Ouija Board
Ouija Board, Ouija Board
"Ouija Board, Ouija Board" was a single released by Morrissey in November 1989, catalogue number HMV POP 1622. The single was poorly received by the music press and the public: its highest chart position was No. 18, making it the first Morrissey single not to reach the British top 10. It appeared...

" over the course of 1989. The first two of these became top ten hits. However, by the end of 1989 it became apparent that he would not be able to put out an album of new material soon enough. Morrissey decided to scrap the idea of a full-length LP and release Bona Drag as a compilation of singles and B-sides instead. The album collected these early singles along with further non-album cuts such as "November Spawned a Monster
November Spawned a Monster
"November Spawned a Monster" is a song by Morrissey. It was released as a single in 1990. It was written by Morrissey and Clive Langer. It also features one of Morrissey's former colleagues from The Smiths, Andy Rourke...

," "Piccadilly Palare," "Disappointed" and the B-side "Hairdresser on Fire."

After a falling out with Stephen Street, Morrissey recruited the production aid of Clive Langer
Clive Langer
Clive Langer is a British record producer active from the mid 1970s onwards. He usually works with Alan Winstanley. He composed the music for the films Still Crazy and Brothers of the Head. Prior to his record producing career he was a guitarist with the British cult band Deaf SchoolLanger...

 and songwriting services of Mark E. Nevin, of Fairground Attraction
Fairground Attraction
Fairground Attraction were a British acoustic pop band. They are best known for their hit single "Perfect", and for helping to launch the career of lead vocalist Eddi Reader.-Career:...

, for the studio follow-up to Viva Hate, entitled Kill Uncle
Kill Uncle
Kill Uncle is Morrissey's second solo album, released on 4 March 1991 by EMI and HMV Records...

. The album peaked at number eight on the UK charts. The two singles released in promotion of the album, "Our Frank
Our Frank
"Our Frank" is a song by Morrissey, released as a single in February 1991. It was the first single taken from the Kill Uncle album. It was also the first of his collaborations with Mark Nevin to be released....

" and "Sing Your Life
Sing Your Life
"Sing Your Life" was a single by Morrissey released in April 1991. It was the second single taken from the Kill Uncle album. On release this was Morrissey's lowest charting single in the UK charts, reaching only number 33...

," failed to break the Top 20 on the singles charts reaching number 26 and number 33 respectively. Morrissey released two non-album singles, "Pregnant for the Last Time
Pregnant for the Last Time
"Pregnant for the Last Time" was a single by Morrissey released in July 1991. It was a stand-alone single rather than taken from any album.This single saw a change in Morrissey's musical style as the 1960s pop of Kill Uncle was replaced by a harder rockabilly sound...

" and "My Love Life
My Love Life
"My Love Life" was a single by Morrissey released in September 1991. It was a stand alone single rather than taken from any studio album, although it was included on the compilation album Suedehead: The Best of Morrissey....

." The band Morrissey assembled in 1991 for his Kill Uncle
Kill Uncle
Kill Uncle is Morrissey's second solo album, released on 4 March 1991 by EMI and HMV Records...

 tour went on to record 1992's hit album Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal is a 1992 album by British singer Morrissey, which was released through HMV Records. The album was regarded by many fans and critics as his strongest and heaviest effort yet upon its release...

. Composition duties were split between guitarists Boz Boorer
Boz Boorer
Boz Boorer is a British guitarist and producer most known for his work founding the new wave rockabilly group, The Polecats, and later for his work as a co-writer, guitarist and musical director with Morrissey.-The Polecats:The band "Cult Heroes" was formed in 1977 by Tim Worman , Boz...

 and Alain Whyte
Alain Whyte
Alain Gordon Whyte is an English guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is most known for being Morrissey's main songwriting partner since 1991 and his lead guitarist from 1991-2004...

, who have been the core of Morrissey's band until the later stages of his comeback period. Your Arsenal was produced by former David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

 guitarist Mick Ronson
Mick Ronson
Michael "Mick" Ronson was an English guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer. He is best known for his work with David Bowie, as one of The Spiders from Mars...

, and earned a Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

 nomination for Best Alternative Album. The album peaked at number four on the UK charts, with two of its three singles, "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful
We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful
"We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful" is a single by Morrissey released in April 1992. It was taken from the then-unreleased Your Arsenal album and was the first Morrissey single to be written by Alain Whyte and produced by glam rock legend Mick Ronson.Reaching number 17 in the UK Singles...

" and "You're the One for Me, Fatty
You're the One for Me, Fatty
"You're the One for Me, Fatty" was a single by Morrissey released in April 1992. It was taken from the then-unreleased Your Arsenal album and was the second Morrissey single to be written by Alain Whyte and produced by glam rock legend Mick Ronson....

," both debuting in the Top 20 in the UK.

By 1994, Morrissey had suffered the loss of three people close to him: Mick Ronson
Mick Ronson
Michael "Mick" Ronson was an English guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer. He is best known for his work with David Bowie, as one of The Spiders from Mars...

, Tim Broad and Nigel Thomas. Channelling his grief, Morrissey wrote and recorded his second number one album in the UK, Vauxhall and I
Vauxhall and I
Vauxhall and I is a 1994 Parlophone album by British musician Morrissey. Q listed it as one of the top ten albums of 1994. The release cemented Morrissey's success in the US, giving him a top 20 album and his first hit single there with the song "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get"...

. Years after the release, Morrissey acknowledged that he felt at the time that it was going to be his last album, and that not only was it the best album he'd ever made but that he would never be able to top it in the future. One of the album's songs, "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get
The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get
"The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" is a song by Morrissey, released as a single in February 1994. It was taken from the then-unreleased Vauxhall and I album and was the first Morrissey single to be produced by Steve Lillywhite....

," reached number eight in the UK and number 46 in the US. That year, he also released a single "Interlude
Interlude (Morrissey and Siouxsie song)
"Interlude" is a single by Morrissey and Siouxsie Sioux released in August 1994. It was presented under the banner of "Morrissey & Siouxsie".This collaboration was rated by Spin magazine in a list of The top 10 one-off team-ups of all time....

" in duet with Siouxsie Sioux
Siouxsie Sioux
Siouxsie Sioux is an English singer-songwriter. She is best known as the lead singer of the critically acclaimed rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees and of its splinter group The Creatures . The Banshees produced eleven studio albums and a string of hit singles including "Hong Kong Garden",...

 of Siouxsie and the Banshees. Following the success of Vauxhall and I Morrissey began work on Southpaw Grammar
Southpaw Grammar
Southpaw Grammar is the fifth solo album by the British alternative rock singer Morrissey. It was released in August 1995 and charted at number 66 in the United States and at number 4 in the United Kingdom...

 in early 1995. When released in August, the album was a hit, reaching number four in the UK. However, both of its singles failed to chart in the Top 20. The nature of the album was different to past Morrissey releases. Musically, the inclusion of two tracks which surpass the ten minute mark, the near two and half minute drum solo courtesy of Spencer Cobrin which opens the track "The Operation" and the sampling of a Shostakovich
Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century....

 symphony have led some to dub the album as 'Morrissey's flirtation with prog-rock.' Some critics were impressed by this apparent attempt at progression, while others dismissed the longer tracks as mere self-indulgence. With the exception of the single "Sunny
Sunny (Morrissey song)
"Sunny" is a song by Morrissey, released as a single in December 1995. It was released by EMI to try and cash in on Morrissey's Southpaw Grammar album that had been released that year by RCA and consisted of three songs that Morrissey had recorded while under contract to EMI."Sunny" had initially...

" in that December it would be another year before Morrissey released a new album or single.

In 1996, Joyce took Morrissey and Marr to court, claiming that he had not received his fair share of recording and performance royalties. Morrissey and Marr had claimed 40% each of the Smiths' recording and performance royalties and allowed ten percent each to Joyce and Rourke. Composition royalties were not an issue, as Rourke and Joyce had never been credited as composers for the band. Morrissey and Marr claimed that the other two members of the band had always agreed to that split of the royalties as they had consented to an account of the royalties sent to Joyce during the band's existence, but initially the High Court
High Court of Justice
The High Court of Justice is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

 and then the Court of Appeal found in favour of Joyce and ordered that he be paid over £1 million in back pay and receive 25 percent henceforth. As Smiths' royalties had been frozen for two years, Rourke settled for a smaller lump sum to pay off his debts and continued to receive ten percent. While the judge in the case described Morrissey as "devious, truculent and unreliable," he did not state that the singer had been dishonest. Morrissey claimed that he was "... under the scorching spotlight in the dock, being drilled ..." with questions such as " 'How dare you be successful?' 'How dare you move on?'" He stated that "The Smiths were a beautiful thing and Johnny [Marr] left it, and Mike [Joyce] has destroyed it." Morrissey appealed against the verdict, but was not successful.

Morrissey returned on a new record label in 1997 with the single "Alma Matters
Alma Matters
"Alma Matters" is a song by Morrissey, released as a single in July 1997. It was the first single to be taken from the Maladjusted album and was released one week before the album....

" in promotion of his album Maladjusted
Maladjusted
Maladjusted is an album by Morrissey, released on 11 August 1997. The album was praised at the time as a return to form for Morrissey, albeit one without the broad appeal of some of his earlier work....

. Though the single was hailed by some as a return to form for Morrissey, the resulting album is considered both a commercial and critical disappointment. The album peaked at number eight in the UK album charts and its further two singles, "Roy's Keen
Roy's Keen
"Roy's Keen" is a song by Morrissey, released as a single in October 1997. It was the second single to be taken from the Maladjusted album and was the third Morrissey single not to feature himself on the cover, instead a photograph of two boys taken by Roger Mayne on London Southam Street in the...

" and "Satan Rejected My Soul
Satan Rejected My Soul
"Satan Rejected My Soul" is a song by Morrissey, released as a single in December 1997. It was the third single to be taken from the Maladjusted album....

" both peaked outside the UK Top 30. Morrissey would not release another studio album for seven years.

Comeback: 2003–10

Despite the absence of any record deal, Morrissey undertook a world tour throughout 2002, with dates across the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Setlists consisted of material from his Smiths and solo years, and new songs that would later be recorded for his seventh studio album. It was during this time that Channel 4 filmed The Importance of Being Morrissey, a documentary which eventually aired in 2003. In June 2003, it was revealed Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records Group Limited was a record label based in the United Kingdom and a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. Until June 2007, it was the largest independent record label in the UK and the largest independent music management company in the world...

 had given Morrissey the one-time reggae label Attack Records to record new material and to sign new artists. You Are the Quarry
You Are the Quarry
-CD:-DVD:# "Irish Blood, English Heart" # "First of the Gang to Die" # "First of the Gang to Die" # "I Have Forgiven Jesus"...

 was released in 2004. The album peaked at number two on the UK album chart and number 11 on the Billboard album chart in the United States. Guitarist Alain Whyte
Alain Whyte
Alain Gordon Whyte is an English guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is most known for being Morrissey's main songwriting partner since 1991 and his lead guitarist from 1991-2004...

 described the work as a mix between Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal is a 1992 album by British singer Morrissey, which was released through HMV Records. The album was regarded by many fans and critics as his strongest and heaviest effort yet upon its release...

 and Vauxhall and I
Vauxhall and I
Vauxhall and I is a 1994 Parlophone album by British musician Morrissey. Q listed it as one of the top ten albums of 1994. The release cemented Morrissey's success in the US, giving him a top 20 album and his first hit single there with the song "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get"...

, and the album received strong reviews. The first single, "Irish Blood, English Heart," reached number three in its first week of sales in the UK singles chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

. This was the highest placing chart position for Morrissey in his entire career at that point. Three other hit singles followed: "First of the Gang to Die
First of the Gang to Die
"First of the Gang to Die" is the title of a song written by Morrissey from his 2004 album You Are the Quarry. It was released in July 2004 as the second single from the album. It was written by Morrissey along with Alain Whyte, the two being responsible for lyrics and music respectively...

," "Let Me Kiss You
Let Me Kiss You
"Let Me Kiss You" is a song written by Morrissey and Alain Whyte. It was recorded by both Morrissey and by Nancy Sinatra, both of whom released their version as a single in the UK on 11 October 2004...

," and "I Have Forgiven Jesus
I Have Forgiven Jesus
"I Have Forgiven Jesus" is the title of a song written by Morrissey from his 2004 album You Are the Quarry. It was released in December 2004 as the fourth single from the album....

." With the release of "I Have Forgiven Jesus," Morrissey along with McFly became the only artists to score four top-10 hits in the UK singles chart that year. The album has since sold over a million copies, making the album his most successful one, solo or with the Smiths. To coincide with the release of the album, Morrissey embarked on an accompanying tour spanning several continents from April to November. In August 2004, Morrissey was slated to headline a week-long set of shows on Craig Ferguson
Craig Ferguson
Craig Ferguson is a Scottish American television host, stand-up comedian, writer, actor, director, author, and producer. He is the host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, an Emmy Award-nominated, Peabody Award-winning late-night talk show that airs on CBS...

's The Late Late Show
The Late Late Show (CBS TV series)
The Late Late Show is an American late-night television talk and variety show on CBS hosted by Craig Ferguson since 2005. It immediately follows Late Show with David Letterman and is produced by Letterman's Worldwide Pants Incorporated...

. Morrissey did not perform every night of the weeklong series due to a throat illness. He did, however, perform the following week. The performance at the Manchester Evening News Arena
Manchester Evening News Arena
The Manchester Evening News Arena is an indoor arena situated in Manchester, England. It is adjacent to Manchester Victoria station near Corporation Street...

 on Morrissey's 45th birthday was recorded and released on the DVD Who Put the M in Manchester?
Who Put the M in Manchester?
Who Put the M in Manchester? is a DVD documenting a live performance by Morrissey. The homecoming concert took place at the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England, on 22 May 2004, Morrissey's 45th birthday.-Track listing:...

 in 2005.
Morrissey's eighth studio album, Ringleader of the Tormentors
Ringleader of the Tormentors
-The Band:* Morrissey – vocals* Alain Whyte – guitars and backing vocals* Boz Boorer – guitars* Jesse Tobias – guitars* Gary Day – bass guitar* Matt Chamberlain – drums* Michael Farrell – piano, organ, keyboards, trumpet, trombone and percussion...

, was recorded in Rome and released on 3 April 2006. Upon release, it debuted at number one in the UK album charts and number 27 in the US. The album yielded four hit singles: "You Have Killed Me
You Have Killed Me
"You Have Killed Me" is the first single from the album Ringleader of the Tormentors by Morrissey. The single was released on March 27, 2006. The title track was written by Morrissey and Jesse Tobias...

," "The Youngest Was the Most Loved
The Youngest Was the Most Loved
"The Youngest Was the Most Loved" is the second single from the Morrissey album Ringleader of the Tormentors, which reached #14 in the UK and #11 in the U.S. Singles Sales. The single was released internationally on June 5, 2006 and was released on June 27, 2006 in the United States. The title...

," "In the Future When All's Well
In the Future When All's Well
"In the Future When All's Well" was the third single from the album Ringleader of the Tormentors by Morrissey. It was added to XFM London's playlist on 18 August 2006. It also made BBC Radio 2's C-List and BBC 6 Music's A-List. The single was released internationally on 21 August 2006...

," and "I Just Want to See the Boy Happy
I Just Want to See the Boy Happy
"I Just Want to See the Boy Happy" is the fourth and final single from the album Ringleader of the Tormentors by Morrissey. The single was released on 4 December 2006. The title track was written by Morrissey and Jesse Tobias...

." Originally Morrissey was to record the album with producer Jeff Saltzman, however he could not undertake the project. Producer Tony Visconti, of T.Rex and David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

 fame, took over the production role and Morrissey announced that the album was "the most beautiful—perhaps the most gentle, so far." Billboard magazine described the album as showcasing "a thicker, more rock-driven sound." Morrissey attributes this change in sound to new guitarist Jesse Tobias
Jesse Tobias
Jesse Tobias is a Texan guitarist of Mexican origin. He first gained notoriety during a brief tenure with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1993, although he was replaced by Dave Navarro within a month after joining the band. Before he joined the Chili Peppers, he briefly played with the L.A. based...

. The subsequent 2006 international tour included more than two dozen gigs in the UK, including concerts at the London Palladium
London Palladium
The London Palladium is a 2,286 seat West End theatre located off Oxford Street in the City of Westminster. From the roster of stars who have played there and many televised performances, it is arguably the most famous theatre in London and the United Kingdom, especially for musical variety...

. Morrissey was scheduled to appear at the 2005 Benicassim festival in Spain but pulled out at the last minute. In January 2007, the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 confirmed that it was in talks with Morrissey for him to write a song for the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union .Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition...

. If an agreement could be made, Morrissey would be writing the song for someone else, rather than performing it himself, a BBC spokesperson claimed. The following month, the BBC ruled this out, and stated Morrissey would not be part of Britain's Eurovision entry.

In early 2007, Morrissey left Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records Group Limited was a record label based in the United Kingdom and a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. Until June 2007, it was the largest independent record label in the UK and the largest independent music management company in the world...

 and embarked on a Greatest Hits tour. The tour ran from 1 February 2007 to 29 July 2008 and spanned 106 concerts over 8 different countries. Morrissey cancelled 11 of these dates, including a planned six consecutive shows at the Roundhouse
The Roundhouse
The Roundhouse is a Grade II* listed former railway engine shed in Chalk Farm, London, England, which has been converted into a performing arts and concert venue. It was originally built in 1847 as a roundhouse , a circular building containing a railway turntable, but was only used for railway...

 in London, due to "throat problems." The tour consisted of three legs, the first two encompassing the US and Mexico were supported by Kristeen Young
Kristeen Young
Kristeen Young is an American singer, songwriter and keyboardist from St. Louis, Missouri. She is noted for her aggressive style and four-octave vocal range....

 from February to October while the remainder featured Girl in a Coma
Girl in a Coma
Girl In a Coma is a rock band from San Antonio, Texas on Joan Jett's Blackheart Records' label. The band is made up of Mexican-American sisters Nina and Phanie Diaz and long-time friend, Jenn Alva . The name is a reference to The Smiths' song Girlfriend in a Coma...

. The final leg was a small scale European tour that saw Morrissey headlining the O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, London on 4 July and culminated in Morrissey playing at the Heatwave Festival in Tel Aviv, Israel on 29 July.

After a show in Houston, Texas, on the first leg of the tour Morrissey rented out the Sunrise Sound Studio to record "That's How People Grow Up
That's How People Grow Up
"That's How People Grow Up" is a 2008 single by British singer Morrissey. The song, released on 4 February 2008, was used to promote his latest Greatest Hits album...

." The song was recorded with producer Jerry Finn
Jerry Finn
Jerry Finn was an American record producer. He was perhaps best known for his work with Blink-182, as well as Morrissey, AFI, Bad Religion, Alkaline Trio, MxPx, Rancid, Green Day, Sum 41 and The Offspring.-Death:...

 rather than previous producer Tony Visconti
Tony Visconti
Anthony Edward Visconti is an American record producer and sometimes a musician or singer.Since the late 1960s, he has worked with an array of performers; his lengthiest involvement with any artist is with David Bowie: intermittently from Bowie's 1969 album Space Oddity to 2003's Reality, Visconti...

 for a future single and inclusion on an upcoming album. In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that specialises in live BBC News, phone-ins, and sports commentaries...

 with Visconti, the producer stated that his new project would be Morrissey's next album, though that this would not be forthcoming for at least a year. However, in an interview with the BBC News website in October 2007, Morrissey said that the album was already written and ready for a possible September 2008 release and confirmed that his deal with Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records Group Limited was a record label based in the United Kingdom and a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. Until June 2007, it was the largest independent record label in the UK and the largest independent music management company in the world...

 had come to an end. In December he signed a new deal with Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

, which included a Greatest Hits album and a newly-recorded album to follow in autumn 2008. Upon signing with Decca, Morrissey released "That's How People Grow Up" as the first single off of his new Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits (Morrissey album)
-Bonus live CD:Initial runs of the album will be accompanied by a bonus CD of songs recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl in 2007. The international version features eight tracks, whereas the US version features "That's How People Grow Up" as Track 8, pushing "Life Is a Pigsty" to track...

 album. Despite lukewarm reviews, especially in the NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

, the lack of airplay on British radio (except on XFM
Xfm
Xfm is a brand of two commercial radio stations focused on alternative music, primarily indie pop, and owned by Global Radio.-History:Xfm was created in London in 1992 by Sammy Jacob, who later co-founded NME Radio in 2008. Xfm subsequently expanded to a network of four stations; there are...

), and even the incredulity of fan sites, "That's How People Grow Up" reached the Top 15, reaching number 14 on the British charts. Reviews for the Greatest Hits compilation were very mixed; reviewers noted that the album only includes songs which reached the Top 15 in the charts, putting the emphasis on new songs, making the CD more suitable for new listeners than for old fans. The album charted at number 5 in the British album chart on its week of release. A limited edition of the Greatest Hits album also featured an eight-track live CD which was recorded at the Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States that is used primarily for music performances...

 in 2007. A second single from the Greatest Hits, "All You Need Is Me
All You Need Is Me
"All You Need Is Me" is a 2008 song by Morrissey that is featured on his Greatest Hits album. It was released as a single on 2 June 2008 in the UK for only one week. It reached #24 in the UK Top 40...

," was released in March. In May 2008, Morrissey parted ways with his manager of five years, Merck Mercuriadis, in favour of a new contract with IE Music, however by September Morrissey left the group and acquired the services of Irving Azoff.

On 30 May 2008, it was announced that Morrissey's ninth studio album, Years of Refusal
Years of Refusal
Years of Refusal is the ninth solo album by Morrissey. Distributed by Decca in the UK and Lost Highway in the US, it was released on 16 February 2009 in the UK and on 17 February 2009 in the US...

 would have 12 tracks and be produced by Jerry Finn
Jerry Finn
Jerry Finn was an American record producer. He was perhaps best known for his work with Blink-182, as well as Morrissey, AFI, Bad Religion, Alkaline Trio, MxPx, Rancid, Green Day, Sum 41 and The Offspring.-Death:...

. On 5 August 2008 it was reported that, although originally due in September, Years of Refusal had been postponed until February 2009, as a result of Finn's death and the lack of an American label to distribute the album.

On 15 August 2008, Warner Music Entertainment announced the upcoming release of Morrissey: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Morrissey: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Morrissey: Live at the Hollywood Bowl was announced as a DVD documenting a live performance by Morrissey, but has never been released. The concert took place at the historic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA, on June 8, 2007 on the first leg of Morrissey's 2007/2008 'Greatest Hits' tour...

, a DVD documenting the live performance that took place at the historic Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States that is used primarily for music performances...

 in Los Angeles, California, on 8 June 2007 on the first leg of Morrissey's 2007/2008 Greatest Hits tour. Morrissey greeted news of the DVD's release by imploring fans not to buy it. Originally due to be released 6 October 2008, the DVD has subsequently been delayed until 1 March 2009 by Warner Music according to HMV. This DVD has never been released.

In November 2008, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 magazine named Morrissey one of "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time." The list was compiled from ballots cast by a panel of 179 "music experts," such as Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

, Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys
Alicia Augello Cook , better known by her stage name Alicia Keys, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and occasional actress. She was raised by a single mother in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan in New York City. At age seven, Keys began playing the piano...

 and Bono
Bono
Paul David Hewson , most commonly known by his stage name Bono , is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School where he met his...

, who were asked to name their 20 favourite vocalists. Morrissey was ranked 92.

In February 2009, following persistent rumours over preceding months of an imminent Smiths reunion, Morrissey was once again forced to deny that any such reunion would take place. In an interview with BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...

, he remarked that "people always ask me about reunions, and I can't imagine why ... the past seems like a distant place, and I'm pleased about that." In a separate interview, with London radio station Xfm
Xfm
Xfm is a brand of two commercial radio stations focused on alternative music, primarily indie pop, and owned by Global Radio.-History:Xfm was created in London in 1992 by Sammy Jacob, who later co-founded NME Radio in 2008. Xfm subsequently expanded to a network of four stations; there are...

, Morrissey also stated that "chances were slim" that he himself would continue performing past the age of 55.

Years of Refusal
Years of Refusal
Years of Refusal is the ninth solo album by Morrissey. Distributed by Decca in the UK and Lost Highway in the US, it was released on 16 February 2009 in the UK and on 17 February 2009 in the US...

 was released worldwide on 16 February 2009 by the Universal Music Group. Upon release, it reached third place in the UK Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
The UK Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales in the United Kingdom. It is compiled every week by The Official Charts Company and broadcast on a Sunday on BBC Radio 1 , and published in Music Week magazine and on the OCC website .To qualify for the UK albums chart...

 and 11 in the US Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

. The record was widely acclaimed by critics, with comparisons made to Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal is a 1992 album by British singer Morrissey, which was released through HMV Records. The album was regarded by many fans and critics as his strongest and heaviest effort yet upon its release...

 and Vauxhall and I
Vauxhall and I
Vauxhall and I is a 1994 Parlophone album by British musician Morrissey. Q listed it as one of the top ten albums of 1994. The release cemented Morrissey's success in the US, giving him a top 20 album and his first hit single there with the song "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get"...

. A review from Pitchfork Media
Pitchfork Media
Pitchfork Media, usually known simply as Pitchfork or P4k, is a Chicago-based daily Internet publication established in 1995 that is devoted to music criticism and commentary, music news, and artist interviews. Its focus is on underground and independent music, especially indie rock...

 noted that with Years of Refusal, Morrissey "has rediscovered himself, finding new potency in his familiar arsenal. Morrissey's rejuvenation is most obvious in the renewed strength of his vocals" and called it his "most venomous, score-settling album, and in a perverse way that makes it his most engaging." "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
"I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" is a song written by Morrissey along with Boz Boorer, the two being responsible for lyrics and music respectively. The song was the first single to be released from Morrissey's 2009 album Years of Refusal. It was recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Jerry...

" and "Something Is Squeezing My Skull
Something Is Squeezing My Skull
"Something Is Squeezing My Skull" is a song with lyrics by Morrissey and music by Alain Whyte. The song is the second single to be released from Morrissey's 2009 album Years of Refusal. It was recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Jerry Finn, the man behind 2004’s You Are the Quarry...

" were released as the record's singles. The song "Black Cloud" features the guitar playing of Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck
Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck is an English rock guitarist. He is one of three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds...

. Throughout 2009 Morrissey toured to promote the album. As part of the extensive Tour of Refusal, Morrissey followed a lengthy US tour with concerts booked in Ireland, Scotland, England, Russia. He had never before performed in Russia.

In April 2009, remastered editions of 1995's Southpaw Grammar
Southpaw Grammar
Southpaw Grammar is the fifth solo album by the British alternative rock singer Morrissey. It was released in August 1995 and charted at number 66 in the United States and at number 4 in the United Kingdom...

 and 1997's Maladjusted
Maladjusted
Maladjusted is an album by Morrissey, released on 11 August 1997. The album was praised at the time as a return to form for Morrissey, albeit one without the broad appeal of some of his earlier work....

 were released in the UK. These both featured a rearranged track listing with the inclusion of B-sides and outtakes, resulting in albums quite different to the original. They also featured new artwork and liner notes written by Morrissey. The reissues were available in the US from June that year.

October 2009 saw the release of a 2004–2009 B-Sides collection, named Swords
Swords (album)
-The band:* Morrissey – vocalist* Alain Whyte – guitarist * Boz Boorer – guitarist* Jesse Tobias – guitarist...

. The album peaked at 55 on the UK albums chart, and Morrissey later called the compilation 'a meek disaster.' On the second date of the UK tour to promote Swords, Morrissey collapsed with breathing difficulties upon finishing the opening song of his set, "This Charming Man," at the Oasis Centre, Swindon. He was discharged from the hospital the following day.

Following the completion of the Swords tour it was announced that Morrissey had fulfilled his contractual obligation to Universal Records and was without a record company. Shortly after this announcement, it was also revealed he had split with Front Line Management.

In July 2010, it was announced that EMI will reissue the 1990 album Bona Drag
Bona Drag
- 2010 re-release :The 2010 re-release features the following additional tracks:* "Happy Lovers at Last United" * "Lifeguard on Duty"...

 on its Major Minor
Major Minor Records
Major Minor Records was a record label started by Phil Solomon in 1966. It had a distribution deal with Decca Records. Artists on the label included The Dubliners and Johnny Nash. Ultimately the label was bought by EMI....

 imprint, resurrected specifically for the release. The release features six additional previously unreleased tracks, and was released on 4 October, entering at number 67 in the UK charts. The 1988 single "Everyday Is Like Sunday
Everyday Is Like Sunday
"Everyday Is Like Sunday" is the third track of Morrissey's debut solo album, Viva Hate, and the second single to be released by the artist. It made number nine in the UK Singles Chart and remains one of his best-known songs...

" was also reissued to coincide with the release on both CD and 7" vinyl formats.

2011 and future

In February 2011, EMI announced a brand new compilation – Very Best of Morrissey
Very Best of Morrissey
Very Best of Morrissey is a compilation album by Morrissey, containing material he released during the 1980s and 90s on EMI. It was released on April 25, 2011.-About The Album:...

 – would be released in April that year. The press release stated both the tracklist and artwork were chosen by Morrissey himself, and the single "Glamorous Glue
Glamorous Glue
"Glamorous Glue" is a single released in the USA by English singer Morrissey in 1992. It reached number 13 on Billboard magazine's Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song has also been used in promotions for the Fox television series Lie to Me. It was not a single release in the UK...

" would also be reissued the same week with two previously unreleased songs.

In March 2011, it was announced Morrissey was now under the management of Ron Laffitte.

In June and July 2011 Morrissey played a UK tour, mainly consisting of small venues in the North of Britain; played Glastonbury Festival; and headlined the Hop Farm Festival
Hop Farm Festival
Hop Farm Music Festival is an annual music festival at The Hop Farm Country Park in East Peckham in the English county of Kent, created by Festival Republic founder, Vince Power...

. In July and August he toured touring venues in Europe and played two festival dates, Hultsfred Festival
Hultsfred Festival
The Hultsfred Festival is an annual music festival held in Hultsfred, Sweden. It takes place at the lake Hulingen during three days in the June or July, from Thursday to Saturday. Since the first festival in 1986, its attendance has increased from 7,500 visitors to approximately 32,000 people in...

 in Sweden and Lokerse Feesten in Belgium. During his performance at Glastonbury
Glastonbury Festival
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, commonly abbreviated to Glastonbury or even Glasto, is a performing arts festival that takes place near Pilton, Somerset, England, best known for its contemporary music, but also for dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts.The...

 Morrissey criticised the UK Prime Minister David Cameron for attempting to stop the ban on wild animals performing in circuses, calling him a 'silly twit'.

Morrissey has stated to have completed a 660-page autobiography which he intends to offer to publishers. In July 2011 NME reported that It's scheduled to be released in December 2012.

On 14 June 2011, Janice Long premiered three new Morrissey songs in session on her BBC Radio 2 program, "Action Is My Middle Name", "The Kid's a Looker" and "People Are the Same Everywhere".

Music industry feuds

Morrissey has criticised singers like Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

, Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

 and George Michael
George Michael
George Michael is a British musician, singer, songwriter and record producer who rose to fame in the 1980s when he formed the pop duo Wham! with his school friend, Andrew Ridgeley...

, generally claiming their lyrics are pointless and they are more interested in being celebrities than in their music. He has also had disagreements with The Cure
The Cure
The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex in 1976. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with frontman, vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member...

's Robert Smith
Robert Smith (musician)
Robert James Smith is an English musician. He is the lead singer, guitar player and principal songwriter of the rock band The Cure, and its only constant member since its founding in 1976...

, who stated "If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I'll eat meat; that's how much I hate Morrissey." Lol Tolhurst, another founding member of the Cure, has claimed he likes Morrissey's music; however, he also said Smith is "quite justified in his ire", alleging their feud was instigated by Morrissey:
"We had never met Morrissey or the Smiths at that point and Morrissey made a very uncalled for remark concerning Robert in the English press. I never understood why as we or Robert had done nothing to upset him that I could think of, but after that it kind of snowballed ... Especially as journalists love feuds!!"


Morrissey also once openly wished Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance author Johnny Rogan
Johnny Rogan
Johnny Rogan is an author of Irish descent best known for his books about music and popular culture. He has written influential biographies of The Byrds, The Smiths and Van Morrison. His writing is characterised by "an almost neurotic attention to detail", epic length and a sometimes hostile...

 "ends his days very soon in an M3 pile-up."
Neil Tennant
Neil Tennant
Neil Francis Tennant is an English musician, singer and songwriter, who, with bandmate Chris Lowe, makes up the successful electronic dance music duo Pet Shop Boys.-Childhood:...

 of the Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys are an English electronic dance music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant, who provides main vocals, keyboards and occasional guitar, and Chris Lowe on keyboards....

 co-wrote two songs inspired by Morrissey's public stereotyping as miserable and unlovable ("Getting Away with It
Getting Away With It
"Getting Away with It" was the first single by the English band Electronic, which comprised Bernard Sumner of New Order, ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, and guesting vocalist Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. It was first released in 1989 ....

" and "Miserablism").

In 1994, Morrissey was criticised by Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers are a Welsh alternative rock band, formed in 1986. They are James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire, Richey Edwards and Sean Moore. The band are part of the Cardiff music scene, and were at their most prominent during the 1990s...

' bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire
Nicky Wire
Nicholas Allen Jones, known as Nicky Wire, is the lyricist, bassist and occasional vocalist with the Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers.-Early life:...

, in regards to comments Morrissey had made about immigration and national identity in NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

. Other targets of his disapproval have been Band Aid
Band Aid (band)
Band Aid was a charity supergroup featuring British and Irish musicians and recording artists. It was founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia by releasing the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market that year. The single...

, rap and rave music, and teenage pop stars. He once stated he disapproved of reggae – a criticism he later retracted, stating he was being facetious and he grew up partly on the classic singles released by the British reggae label Trojan
Trojan Records
Trojan Records is a British record label founded in 1968. It specialises in ska, rocksteady, reggae and dub music. The label currently operates under the Sanctuary Records Group. The name Trojan comes from the Croydon-built Trojan truck that was used as Duke Reid's sound system in Jamaica...

 in the early to mid-1970s.

Attitude towards political leaders

Morrissey has always been politically outspoken, directing his criticism at figures ranging from Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

, the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

, former British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

s Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 and Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 and former U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. He has criticised both the two main political parties of the United Kingdom, the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 and the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

.

In a 1984 interview, Morrissey spoke of the then-Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher: "She is only one person. She can be destroyed. It is the only remedy for this country at the moment." Morrissey's first solo album, Viva Hate, included a track entitled "Margaret on the Guillotine", a tongue-in-cheek jab at Thatcher. British police responded by searching Morrissey's home and carrying out an official investigation, while Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds is an English music critic who is well-known for his writings on electronic dance music and for coining the term "post-rock". Besides electronic dance music, Reynolds has written about a wide range of artists and musical genres, and has written books on post-punk and rock...

, who had interviewed Morrissey for Melody Maker
Melody Maker
Melody Maker, published in the United Kingdom, was, according to its publisher IPC Media, the world's oldest weekly music newspaper. It was founded in 1926 as a magazine targeted at musicians; in 2000 it was merged into "long-standing rival" New Musical Express.-1950s–1960s:Originally the Melody...

, was questioned about the tone in which Morrissey had made certain remarks about Thatcher.

At a Dublin concert in June 2004, Morrissey caused controversy by announcing the death of former US President, Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and stating that he would have preferred it if the then current President, George W. Bush, had died. In October 2004, Morrissey released a statement urging American voters to vote for Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 candidate John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

 for President, calling this vote a "logical and sane move". Morrissey opined that "Bush has single-handedly turned the United States into the most neurotic and terror-obsessed country on the planet."

In February 2006, Morrissey said he had been interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI) and by British intelligence
Special Branch
Special Branch is a label customarily used to identify units responsible for matters of national security in British and Commonwealth police forces, as well as in the Royal Thai Police...

 after having spoken out against the American and British governments. Morrissey said that "They were trying to determine if I was a threat to the government, it didn't take them long to realise that I am not." During a January 2008 concert Morrissey remarked "God Bless Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

" and ranted against Hillary Clinton after a performance of "The World Is Full of Crashing Bores."

In December 2010, he publicly supported Johnny Marr, who had stated that he forbade British Prime Minister, David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

, from liking the Smiths. Morrissey added "I would like to, if I may, offer support to Johnny Marr who has spoken out to the media this week against David Cameron. David Cameron hunts and shoots and kills stags – apparently for pleasure. It was not for such people that either Meat Is Murder or The Queen Is Dead were recorded; in fact, they were made as a reaction against such violence". In his statement, he also lambasted the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

, noting their continued violence toward animals (in their pursuit of hunting and their use of bearskin
Bearskin
A bearskin is a tall fur cap, usually worn as part of a ceremonial military uniform. Traditionally, the bearskin was the headgear of grenadiers, and is still worn by grenadier and guards regiments in various armies.-Origins:...

 to make the hats of the British guards) and their utter irrelevance in British life. He referred to Prince William and his then-fiancée Catherine Middleton as "so dull as people that it is actually impossible to discuss them".

Accusations of racism

Morrissey has been accused of racism or of out-dated attitudes to race. In 1985 he stated that "all reggae is vile", a dismissal of the genre that some found to be racially charged. He later said that this was a tongue-in-cheek answer to "wind up the right-on 1980s NME" and that he was actually a fan of much reggae music.

Morrissey songs such as "Bengali in Platforms
Bengali in Platforms
"Bengali in Platforms" is a Morrissey song from his debut album Viva Hate. It refers to a Bengali boy who is living in the UK, and trying, but failing, to fit in...

," "Asian Rut" and "The National Front Disco
The National Front Disco
"The National Front Disco" is a song by Morrissey which appears on the album Your Arsenal. The song also appears on the live album Beethoven Was Deaf. The title of the song refers to the National Front, a far-right nationalist organisation...

", whose lyrics relate to community relations in the UK, have been criticised by some as sympathetic towards racism. In a 2002 documentary, The Importance of Being Morrissey, the subject takes issue with those who have viewed his songs in this way, saying: "Not everybody is absolutely stupid".

Morrissey's performance at the first Madness
Madness (band)
In 1979, the band recorded the Lee Thompson composition "The Prince". The song, like the band's name, paid homage to their idol, Prince Buster. The song was released through 2 Tone Records, the label of The Specials founder Jerry Dammers. The song was a surprise hit, peaking in the UK music charts...

 Madstock!
Madstock!
- Personnel :* Suggs – lead vocals* Mike Barson – keyboards* Lee Thompson – saxophone, backing vocals* Chris Foreman – guitar* Mark Bedford – bass* Daniel Woodgate – drums* Chas Smash – backing vocals, trumpet...

 reunion concert at Finsbury Park, London, in 1992, saw him appear on stage carrying a Union Flag
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

, often associated with nationalism and the British far-right. As a backdrop for this performance, he chose a photograph of two female skinhead
Skinhead
A skinhead is a member of a subculture that originated among working class youths in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, and then spread to other parts of the world. Named for their close-cropped or shaven heads, the first skinheads were greatly influenced by West Indian rude boys and British mods,...

s. The British music magazine NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

 responded to the performance with a lengthy examination of Morrissey's attitudes to race, claiming that the singer had "left himself in a position where accusations that he's toying with far-right/fascist imagery, and even of racism itself, can no longer just be laughed off with a knowing quip."

In 1994, Morrissey rejected claims of racism, saying "If the National Front
British National Front
The National Front is a far right, white-only political party whose major political activities took place during the 1970s and 1980s. Its popularity peaked in the 1979 general election, when it received 191,719 votes ....

 were to hate anyone, it would be me". He qualified that by saying that far-right rage "is simply their anger at being ignored in what is supposed to be a democratic society." In 1999, he lamented the rise of Austrian far-right politician Jörg Haider
Jörg Haider
Jörg Haider was an Austrian politician. He was Governor of Carinthia on two occasions, the long-time leader of the Austrian Freedom Party and later Chairman of the Alliance for the Future of Austria , a breakaway party from the FPÖ.Haider was controversial within Austria and abroad for comments...

, saying: "This is sad. Sometimes I don't believe we live in an intelligent world". In 2004 was a founding signatory of the Unite Against Fascism
Unite Against Fascism
Unite Against Fascism is an anti-fascist pressure group in the United Kingdom, with support from politicians of all mainstream UK political parties...

 pressure group.

In 2007, Morrissey said in an interview with the NME that British identity had disappeared because of immigration. He later claimed to have been misrepresented, and his manager described the NME article as "character assassination". In 2008, he made a donation of £75,000 to the organisers of the Love Music Hate Racism
Love Music Hate Racism
Love Music Hate Racism is a music-oriented campaign based in Britain by the Anti-Nazi League and Unite Against Fascism. The campaign involves concerts aimed at spreading an anti-racist message...

 concert in London, after the withdrawal of the NMEs sponsorship left the event facing a financial shortfall. A legal suit by Morrissey against the NME began in October 2011.

In 2008, Word Magazine
Word Magazine
Launched in 1995 by Carey Earle, Tom Livaccari and Dan Pelson, Word Magazine was one of the earliest and most influential e-zines. For over five years, Word created original stories, interviews, games, applications, music, interactive objects and art, and community spaces. Word published new...

 was forced to apologise in court for an article by David Quantick
David Quantick
David Quantick is a freelance journalist, writer and critic who specialises in music and comedy.-Career history:...

 that accused Morrissey of being a racist and a hypocrite.

In 2010, during an interview with Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage CBE is a British poet, playwright, and novelist.-Life and career:Simon Armitage was born in Marsden, West Yorkshire. Armitage first studied at Colne Valley High School, Linthwaite, Huddersfield and went on to study geography at Portsmouth Polytechnic...

 for The Guardian, Morrissey alighted on the topic of animal cruelty
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

 in China, saying "you can't help but feel the Chinese are a sub-species". This led to Love Music Hate Racism
Love Music Hate Racism
Love Music Hate Racism is a music-oriented campaign based in Britain by the Anti-Nazi League and Unite Against Fascism. The campaign involves concerts aimed at spreading an anti-racist message...

, to whom Morrissey had previously donated money, saying it would be unable to accept support from him again without a retraction. "When you start using language like 'subspecies'," said a spokesperson, "you are entering into dark and murky water".

According to the commentator Liz Hoggard: "Morrissey didn't help his case with an uneasy flirtation with gangster imagery: he took up boxing and was accompanied everywhere by a skinhead, named Jake ... the man who abhorred violence became strangely fascinated by it." Encyclopædia Britannica says that that Morrissey's 1990s albums, including Your Arsenal (1992), Vauxhall and I (1994), Southpaw Grammar (1995) and Maladjusted (1997) "testified to a growing homoerotic obsession with criminals, skinheads, and boxers, a change paralleled by a shift in the singer's image from wilting wallflower to would-be thug sporting sideburns and gold bracelets."

Despite accusations of racism in the United Kingdom, Morrissey maintains a large Latino fan base in the United States and in Los Angeles particularly.

Animal rights activism

Morrissey has been vegetarian since he was 11 years old. He has explained his vegetarianism by saying "If you love animals, obviously it doesn't make sense to hurt them." Morrissey is an advocate for animal rights and a supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A non-profit corporation with 300 employees and two million members and supporters, it claims to be the largest animal rights...

 (PETA). In recognition of his support, PETA honoured him with the Linda McCartney
Linda McCartney
Linda Louise McCartney, Lady McCartney was an American photographer, musician and animal rights activist. Her father and mother were Lee Eastman and Louise Sara Lindner Eastman....

 Memorial Award at their 25th Anniversary Gala on 10 September 2005.

In January 2006, Morrissey attracted criticism when he stated that he accepts the motives behind the militant tactics of the Animal Rights Militia
Animal Rights Militia
The Animal Rights Militia is a banner used by animal rights activists who engage in direct action that ignores the Animal Liberation Front's policy of taking all necessary precautions to avoid harm to human and non-human life.-History:...

, saying "I understand why fur-farmers and so-called laboratory scientists are repaid with violence—it is because they deal in violence themselves and it's the only language they understand."

Morrissey has criticised people who are involved in the promotion of eating meat, specifically Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver
James "Jamie" Trevor Oliver, MBE , sometimes known as The Naked Chef, is an English chef, restaurateur and media personality, known for his food-focused television shows, cookbooks and more recently his campaign against the use of processed foods in national schools...

 and Clarissa Dickson Wright – the latter already targeted by some animal rights activists for her stance on fox hunting. In response, Dickson-Wright stated "Morrissey is encouraging people to commit acts of violence and I am constantly aware that something might very well happen to me." The Conservative MP David Davis
David Davis (British politician)
David Michael Davis is a British Conservative Party politician who is the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Haltemprice and Howden...

 criticised these comments, saying that "any incitement to violence is obviously wrong in a civilised society and should be investigated by the police." On 27 March 2006, Morrissey released a statement that he would not include any concert dates in Canada on his world tour that year—and that he supported a boycott of all Canadian goods—in protest against the country's annual seal hunt, which he described as a "barbaric and cruel slaughter".

In 2009 he abandoned a stage at the Coachella Festival in California because of the smell of cooking meat. He later returned to finish his set.

In September 2010 he ignited a public controversy for describing Chinese people as a "subspecies" because of their treatment of animals. In an interview with British poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage CBE is a British poet, playwright, and novelist.-Life and career:Simon Armitage was born in Marsden, West Yorkshire. Armitage first studied at Colne Valley High School, Linthwaite, Huddersfield and went on to study geography at Portsmouth Polytechnic...

 he said: "Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can't help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies." He later made a statement saying "if anyone has seen the horrific and unwatchable footage of the Chinese cat and dog trade – animals skinned alive – then they could not possibly argue in favour of China as a caring nation. There are no animal protection laws in China and this results in the worst animal abuse and cruelty on the planet. It is indefensible."

At a concert in Warsaw, Poland on Sunday, 24 July 2011, Morrissey caused more controversy when stating "We all live in a murderous world, as the events in Norway have shown, with 97 [sic] dead. Though that is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 and Kentucky Fried Shit every day." in reference to the recent attacks
2011 Norway attacks
The 2011 Norway attacks were two sequential terrorist attacks against the government, the civilian population and a summer camp in Norway on 22 July 2011....

 of Anders Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik is a Norwegian terrorist, paranoid schizophrenic and the confessed perpetrator of the Norway attacks on 22 July 2011: the bombing of government buildings in Oslo that resulted in eight deaths, and the mass shooting at a camp of the Workers' Youth League of the Labour Party...

 in Norway on 22 July, which resulted in the killing of 69 people who were attending a Youth Labour Party camp on Utøya Island, and eight people working in and around a government building which was bombed. His statement has been seen by many as crude and insensitive.

Sexuality

Morrissey's sexuality has been a matter of conjecture, and this has been fuelled by many conflicting statements from the singer, none of which has ever explicitly stated his sexual orientation. Encyclopædia Britannica argues that he created a "compellingly conflicted persona (loudly proclaimed celibacy offset by coy hints of closeted homosexuality)" which has "made him a peculiar heartthrob." "Morrissey has always taken great pains to maintain the 'undecidable' nature of his sexuality." In 1983 he claimed to be "a kind of prophet for the fourth sex," on the grounds that he was "bored with men and ... bored with women." In 1984, he stated that he refused "to recognise the terms hetero-, bi-, and homo-sexual" because "everybody has exactly the same sexual needs." A 1984 Smiths article in Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 stated that Morrissey "admits he's gay," but Morrissey replied that it was news to him and the article used the term "fourth-gender" in its title.

The speculation was further fuelled by the frequent references to gay subculture and slang in his lyrics. In 2006, Liz Hoggard from The Independent noted, "Only 15 years after homosexuality had been decriminalised, his lyrics flirted with every kind of gay subculture"; for example, she claims that "This Charming Man" "is about age-gap, gay sex." Reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine claims lyrics to the Smiths single "Hand in Glove" contain very thinly "veiled references to homosexuality."

Throughout much of his career, he maintained in interviews that he was asexual
Asexuality
Asexuality , in its broadest sense, is the lack of sexual attraction and, in some cases, the lack of interest in sex. Sometimes, it is considered a lack of a sexual orientation...

 and celibate. Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr is an English musician and songwriter. Marr rose to fame in the 1980s as the guitarist in The Smiths, with whom he formed a prolific songwriting partnership with Morrissey. Marr has been a member of Electronic, The The, and Modest Mouse...

 stated in a 1984 interview that "Morrissey doesn't participate in sex at the moment and hasn't done so for a while, he's had a lot of girlfriends in the past and quite a few men friends." In 1986, Morrissey claimed that he was "dramatically, supernaturally, non-sexual." In a 1994 interview, he claimed that "sex is actually never in my life," and as such, he argued that "I have no sexuality." In 1995, he claimed "I'd like to have a sex life, if possible." In a 1997 interview, he revealed he had been in a relationship with someone for two years but that it had ended and the person in question had just stopped loving him. He did not reveal the sex of his partner or whether it was a sexual relationship. However, he did admit to caring deeply and he stated he had hoped he or she had shared similar feelings. In a 2006 NME interview, he stated he was no longer celibate, but he did not give any additional details. A 2006 article in UK paper The Independent stated the singer "... has even hinted at a late-blooming sex life." John Murphy of musicOMH
MusicOMH
musicOMH is a United Kingdom-based website which publishes independent reviews, featues and interviews from across all musical genres including classical, metal, rock and R&B.-History:...

 has even speculated that the lyrics "Nothing entered me, 'til you came with the key" to Morrissey's 2006 song "You Have Killed Me
You Have Killed Me
"You Have Killed Me" is the first single from the album Ringleader of the Tormentors by Morrissey. The single was released on March 27, 2006. The title track was written by Morrissey and Jesse Tobias...

" give reference to a sexual encounter he had.

Morrissey frequently tells interviewers who ask him about his sexuality the question is irrelevant to his music, or he gives an evasive or ambiguous response. While the debate over Morrissey's sexuality has become widespread on fan websites, including attempts to analyse the meaning of his ambiguous song lyrics, their attempts are often stymied because, as The Times critic Tom Gatti puts it, "Morrissey's music offers infinite capacity for interpretation" because "they are too flexible, too rich, too textured."

Legacy and influence

Morrissey is routinely referred to as an influential artist, both in his solo career and with the Smiths. The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 has referred to him as "one of the most influential figures in the history of British pop," and the NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

 named the Smiths the "most influential artist ever" in a 2002 poll, even topping the Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

. Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

, naming him one of the greatest singers of all time in a recent poll, noted that his "rejection of convention" in his vocal style and lyrics is the reason "why he redefined the sound of British rock for the past quarter-century." Morrissey's enduring influence has been ascribed to his wit, the "infinite capacity for interpretation" in his lyrics, and his appeal to the "constant navel gazing, reflection, solipsism" of generations of "disenfranchised youth," offering unusually intimate "companionship" to broad demographics. Journalist Mark Simpson
Mark Simpson (journalist)
Mark Simpson is an English journalist, writer, and broadcaster specialising in pop culture, media, and masculinity. He has been described by one critic as "the skinhead Oscar Wilde" Simpson is a frequent commentator on British television shows....

 calls Morrissey "one of the greatest pop lyricists – and probably the greatest-ever lyricist of desire – that has ever moaned" and observes that "he is fully present in his songs as few other artists are, in a way that fans of most other performers ... wouldn't tolerate for a moment.
Simpson also argues that "After Morrissey there could be no more pop stars. His was an impossible act to follow ... [his] unrivalled knowledge of the pop canon, his unequaled imagination of what it might mean to be a pop star, and his breathtakingly perverse ambition to turn it into great art, could only exhaust the form forever."
In 2006, he was voted the second greatest living British icon
Cultural icon
A cultural icon can be a symbol, logo, picture, name, face, person, building or other image that is readily recognized and generally represents an object or concept with great cultural significance to a wide cultural group...

 in a poll held by the BBC's Culture Show. The All Music Guide to Rock asserts that Morrissey's "lyrical preoccupations," particularly themes dealing with English identity, proved extremely influential on subsequent artists. Journalist Phillip Collins also described him as a major influence on modern music and "the best British lyricist in living memory."

Cultural historian Julian Stringer notes that the Smiths and Morrissey were a product of and a reaction against Thatcherism
Thatcherism
Thatcherism describes the conviction politics, economic and social policy, and political style of the British Conservative politician Margaret Thatcher, who was leader of her party from 1975 to 1990...

, and that their rise to fame "can be seen as the only sustained response that white, English pop/rock music was able to make against the Conservative Government's
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 appropriation of white, English national identity; and that being the case, it is not really surprising that the response is utterly riddled with contradiction". Other scholars have responded favourably to Morrissey's work, including academic symposia
Symposium
In ancient Greece, the symposium was a drinking party. Literary works that describe or take place at a symposium include two Socratic dialogues, Plato's Symposium and Xenophon's Symposium, as well as a number of Greek poems such as the elegies of Theognis of Megara...

 at various universities including University of Limerick
University of Limerick
The University of Limerick is a university in Ireland near the city of Limerick on the island's west coast. It was established in 1972 as the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick and became a university by statute in 1989 in accordance with the University of Limerick Act 1989...

 and Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester Metropolitan University is a university in North West England. Its headquarters and central campus is in the city of Manchester, but there are outlying facilities in the county of Cheshire. It is the third largest university in the United Kingdom in terms of student numbers, behind the...

. Gavin Hopps, a research fellow and literary scholar at the University of St. Andrews, wrote a full-length academic study of Morrissey's work, calling him comparable to Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

, John Betjeman
John Betjeman
Sir John Betjeman, CBE was an English poet, writer and broadcaster who described himself in Who's Who as a "poet and hack".He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture...

, and Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin
Philip Arthur Larkin, CH, CBE, FRSL is widely regarded as one of the great English poets of the latter half of the twentieth century...

, and noting similarities between Morrissey and Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

. The British Food Journal featured an article in 2008 that applied Morrissey's lyrics to building positive business relationships. A major book of academic essays edited by Eoin Devereux, Aileen Dillane and Martin Power, Morrissey: Fandom, Representations and Identities, which focuses on Morrissey's solo career, was published in 2011.

A Los Angeles Times critic wrote that Morrissey "patented the template for modern indie rock
Indie rock
Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

" and that many bands playing at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a three-day annual music and arts festival, organized by Goldenvoice and held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, in the Inland Empire's Coachella Valley...

 "would not be there – or at least, would not sound the same – were it not for him." Similarly, the critic Steven Wells
Steven Wells
Steven Wells was a British journalist, author, comedian and notable punk poet born in Swindon, Wiltshire. He is best remembered for ranting poetry and his provocative, unapologetic music journalism. In June 2006, he wrote in the Philadelphia Weekly about his treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma...

 called Morrissey "the man who more or less invented indie" and an artist "who more than anybody else personifies" indie culture. Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Stephen Thomas Erlewine is a senior editor for Allmusic. He is the author of many artist biographies and record reviews for Allmusic, as well as a freelance writer, occasionally contributing liner notes. He is also frontman and guitarist for the Ann Arbor-based band Who Dat?Erlewine is the nephew...

 of Allmusic writes that the Smiths and Morrissey "inspired every band of note" in the Britpop
Britpop
Britpop is a subgenre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom. Britpop emerged from the British independent music scene of the early 1990s and was characterised by bands influenced by British guitar pop music of the 1960s and 1970s...

 era, including Suede
Suede (band)
Suede are an English alternative rock band from London, formed in 1989. The group's most prominent early line-up featured singer Brett Anderson, guitarist Bernard Butler, bass player Mat Osman and drummer Simon Gilbert. By 1992, Suede were hailed as "The Best New Band in Britain", and attracted...

, Blur
Blur (band)
Blur is an English alternative rock band. Formed in London in 1989 as Seymour, the group consists of singer Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Blur's debut album Leisure incorporated the sounds of Madchester and shoegazing...

, Oasis
Oasis (band)
Oasis were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1991. Originally known as The Rain, the group was formed by Liam Gallagher , Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs , Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan and Tony McCarroll , who were soon joined by Liam's older brother Noel Gallagher...

, and Pulp
Pulp (band)
Pulp are an English alternative rock band formed in Sheffield in 1978. Their lineup consists of Jarvis Cocker , Russell Senior , Candida Doyle , Mark Webber , Steve Mackey and Nick Banks ....

. Other major artists including Jeff Buckley
Jeff Buckley
Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Buckley , raised as Scotty Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was the son of Tim Buckley, also a musician...

 and Radiohead
Radiohead
Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke , Jonny Greenwood , Ed O'Brien , Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway .Radiohead released their debut single "Creep" in 1992...

 have also been influenced by Morrissey. Colin Meloy
Colin Meloy
Colin Patrick Henry Meloy is the lead singer and songwriter for the Portland, Oregon, folk-rock band The Decemberists. In addition to vocals, he performs with an acoustic guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bouzouki, harmonica, percussion and interpretive hand gestures.-Early life...

 of the Decemberists
The Decemberists
The Decemberists are an indie folk rock band from Portland, Oregon, United States, fronted by singer/songwriter Colin Meloy. The other members of the band are Chris Funk , Jenny Conlee , Nate Query , and John Moen .The band's...

, who recorded a 2005 EP of Morrissey covers titled Colin Meloy Sings Morrissey
Colin Meloy Sings Morrissey
Colin Meloy Sings Morrissey was the first solo project released by Portland musician Colin Meloy of The Decemberists. The album was released in January, 2005 and was available exclusively on Meloy's first solo tour...

, acknowledged Morrissey's influence on his songwriting: "You could either bask in that glow of fatalistic narcissism
Narcissism
Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait...

, or you could think it was funny. I always thought that was an interesting dynamic in his songwriting, and I can only aspire to have that kind of dynamic in my songs." Brandon Flowers
Brandon Flowers
Brandon Richard Flowers is an American musician, best known as the frontman of the Las Vegas-based rock band The Killers. He has also released a solo album titled Flamingo.-Early life:...

 of the American Rock band The Killers has revealed his admiration for Morrissey on several different occasions and admits that his interest for writing songs about murder such as "Jenny Was A Friend of Mine" and "Midnight Show" traces back to Morrissey singing about loving 'the romance of crime' in the song Sister I'm A Poet
Sister I'm A Poet
"Sister I'm a Poet" is a song by Morrissey. It was featured as a B-side to the single "Everyday Is Like Sunday" as well as on the VHS Hulmerist, live album Beethoven Was Deaf and compilation album World of Morrissey...

. Flowers quoted "I studied that line a lot. And it's kind of embedded in me."

In addition to the numerous pop culture homages to Smiths songs, bands Suede
Suede (band)
Suede are an English alternative rock band from London, formed in 1989. The group's most prominent early line-up featured singer Brett Anderson, guitarist Bernard Butler, bass player Mat Osman and drummer Simon Gilbert. By 1992, Suede were hailed as "The Best New Band in Britain", and attracted...

, The Ordinary Boys
The Ordinary Boys
The Ordinary Boys are an English indie rock band from Worthing, in West Sussex, England. Originally named Next in Line, they were influenced by mod revival and Britpop music, as well as the bands Madness, The Specials, The Kinks and The Smiths...

 and The Boy Least Likely To
The Boy Least Likely To
The Boy Least Likely To is an English indie pop duo, composed of composer/multi-instrumentalist Pete Hobbs and lyricist/singer Jof Owen.Owen and Hobbs both grew up in the village of Wendover in Buckinghamshire. They met when they were still in school and started writing songs together. They began...

 chose their names based on solo Morrissey songs.

Solo discography

Release date Title
1988 Viva Hate
Viva Hate
Viva Hate is Morrissey's debut solo album, released on 14 March 1988 by HMV Records. The album was considered a very strong foray into Morrissey's solo career, as he utilised his traditional lyrical style and retained the basic sound that The Smiths had developed by the time they broke up. It...

1991 Kill Uncle
Kill Uncle
Kill Uncle is Morrissey's second solo album, released on 4 March 1991 by EMI and HMV Records...

1992 Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal is a 1992 album by British singer Morrissey, which was released through HMV Records. The album was regarded by many fans and critics as his strongest and heaviest effort yet upon its release...

1994 Vauxhall and I
Vauxhall and I
Vauxhall and I is a 1994 Parlophone album by British musician Morrissey. Q listed it as one of the top ten albums of 1994. The release cemented Morrissey's success in the US, giving him a top 20 album and his first hit single there with the song "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get"...

1995 Southpaw Grammar
Southpaw Grammar
Southpaw Grammar is the fifth solo album by the British alternative rock singer Morrissey. It was released in August 1995 and charted at number 66 in the United States and at number 4 in the United Kingdom...

1997 Maladjusted
Maladjusted
Maladjusted is an album by Morrissey, released on 11 August 1997. The album was praised at the time as a return to form for Morrissey, albeit one without the broad appeal of some of his earlier work....

2004 You Are the Quarry
You Are the Quarry
-CD:-DVD:# "Irish Blood, English Heart" # "First of the Gang to Die" # "First of the Gang to Die" # "I Have Forgiven Jesus"...

2006 Ringleader of the Tormentors
Ringleader of the Tormentors
-The Band:* Morrissey – vocals* Alain Whyte – guitars and backing vocals* Boz Boorer – guitars* Jesse Tobias – guitars* Gary Day – bass guitar* Matt Chamberlain – drums* Michael Farrell – piano, organ, keyboards, trumpet, trombone and percussion...

2009 Years of Refusal
Years of Refusal
Years of Refusal is the ninth solo album by Morrissey. Distributed by Decca in the UK and Lost Highway in the US, it was released on 16 February 2009 in the UK and on 17 February 2009 in the US...


Morrissey bibliography

  • Morrissey, Steven Patrick, James Dean is Not Dead, Babylon Books, 1983.
  • Morrissey, Steven Patrick, Exit Smiling, Babylon Books, 1998 (reprint).
  • Morrissey, Steven Patrick, The New York Dolls, Babylon Books, 1981.
  • Turner, Jeff; Bushell, Gary; Morrissey, Steven Patrick (introduction), Cockney Reject, John Black Publishing, 2005.
  • Visconti, Tony
    Tony Visconti
    Anthony Edward Visconti is an American record producer and sometimes a musician or singer.Since the late 1960s, he has worked with an array of performers; his lengthiest involvement with any artist is with David Bowie: intermittently from Bowie's 1969 album Space Oddity to 2003's Reality, Visconti...

    ; Morrissey, Steven Patrick (introduction), The Autobiography, Harper Collins Entertainment, 2007.
  • Willians, John; Thomas, Caron; Morrissey, Steven Patrick (introduction), Marc Bolan
    Marc Bolan
    Marc Bolan was an English singer-songwriter, guitarist and poet. He is best known as the founder, frontman, lead singer & guitarist for T. Rex, but also a successful solo artist...

    : Wilderness of the Mind, Xanadu, 1992.

Further reading

  • Bret, David, Morrissey: Scandal and Passion, Anova, 2007.
  • Brown, Len, Meetings with Morrissey, Omnibus, 2008.
  • Campbell, Sean and Coulter, Colin, eds., Why Pamper Life's Complexities? Essays on The Smiths, Manchester University Press, 2010.
  • Devereux, Eoin; Dillane, Aileen; and Power, Martin J., eds., Morrissey: Fandom, Representations and Identities, Intellect Books, 2011.
  • Goddard, Simon
    Simon Goddard
    Simon Goddard is a British music journalist and author, best known for his writings on British indie band The Smiths and their former lead singer Morrissey....

    , Mozipedia: The Encyclopedia of Morrissey and The Smiths, Ebury Press, 2009.
  • Goddard, Simon, The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life
    Songs That Saved Your Life
    The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life is a book on British rock band The Smiths, written by UK music journalist Simon Goddard. The title refers to a lyric from their 1985 B-side "Rubber Ring"....

    , Reynolds & Hearn, 2006.
  • Greco, Nicholas P., "Only If You Are Really Interested: Celebrity, Gender, Desire, and the World of MORRISSEY", McFarland and Co., 2011.
  • Hingley, Martin; Leek, Sheena; Lindgreen, Adam, "Business relationships the Morrissey way", British Food Journal, Vol. 110, No. 1, pp. 128–143, 2008.
  • Hopps, Gavin, Morrissey: The Pageant of His Bleeding Heart, Continuum, 2009.
  • Rogan, Johnny
    Johnny Rogan
    Johnny Rogan is an author of Irish descent best known for his books about music and popular culture. He has written influential biographies of The Byrds, The Smiths and Van Morrison. His writing is characterised by "an almost neurotic attention to detail", epic length and a sometimes hostile...

    , Morrissey, self-published, 2007.
  • Rogan, Johnny, Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance, Omnibus, 1993.
  • Simpson, Mark, Saint Morrissey, SAF UK 2003; Touchstone US, 2006.
  • Sterling, Linder
    Linder Sterling
    Linder Sterling is a visual artist, performance artist and musician from Liverpool, England. She spent her teen years in Manchester. She also uses the single name "Linder".-Early life:...

    , "We Are Your Thoughts", Linda Works: 1976–2006, JRP Editions, 2006.
  • Stringer, Julian, "The Smiths: repressed (but remarkably dressed)", JSTOR, Popular Music, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 15–26, January 1992.
  • Sørensen, Jesper, Alle dage er som søndag, Rosenkilde, 2009.
  • Woods, Paul A., ed., Morrissey in Conversation: The Essential Interviews, Plexus, 2007.
  • Woronzoff, Elizabeth, "'Because the Music That They Constantly Play, It Says Nothing to Me About My Life:' An Analysis of Youth's Appropriation of Morrissey's Sexuality, Gender, and Identity", monograph, Simmons College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Studies, February 2009.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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