Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Steven Patrick Morrissey was born 1958 in Manchester, Northern England. In the early 1970's, Morrissey was in a band called Wild Ram. They later changed the name to Not Sensibles and then again, to Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds. At that time they had Eddie Garrity doing vocals and Vini Reilley on guitar (he later joined Durutti Column). In 1977, Garrity and Reilley left the band and Morrissey took over the microphone. The band shortened the name to The Nosebleeds and Pete Crooks (bass), Toby (drums) and Billy Duffy (guitar) joined (Duffy later became a member of the Cult). The band dissolved in 1978.
In 1982 Morrissey was introduced to a guitarist named John Mahr. At that time Mahr worked in a clothes shop and he was looking for someone who could write lyrics to his music. The two sat down and soon they had put together some songs. At first the idea was to sell the songs to other artists and make money but they changed their minds. They picked up two more guys and formed a band. The band was called The Smiths and John Mahr became Johnny Marr and Steven Morrissey became just plain Morrissey. The other two were Mike Joyce on drums and Andy Rourke on bass.
Their first single was Hand In Glove, which was released in May 1983. Nothing really happened until October the same year, when they released their third single, entitled This Charming Man. It was a success and became the biggest selling single ever for the small label, Rough Trade.
In 1984 it was time to release to release their first album, The Smiths. Unfortunately, the expectations were too high from the media hype and people got dissapointed. If it hadn't been for the single Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, The Smiths might have been a closed chapter. The b-side of the single was a song called Suffer Little Children and was based on a couple of child slayings, called "the Moors Murders". The media quickly portrayed the band as being sympathetic with the murderers and all of a sudden The Smiths was interesting again.
The Smiths was now a known name and they had established themselves as one of the most promising young bands in Britain.
Two more albums followed, Meat is Murder and The Queen is Dead, and in 1987 they released their fourth LP, Strangeways Here We Come. With that record their contract with Rough Trade was fulfilled and the plan was to move to the bigger label EMI. Everything looked fine, when Marr suddenly decided to leave the band. The Smiths couldn't continue without Marr and the band ceased to exist.
Nobody really thought that Morrissey could move on as a solo artist but he kept writing songs and he turned to long-time Smiths engineer/producer Steven Street. Street put together some music and found Morrissey a new guitar player, Vini Reilly. The skeptics quickly changed their minds when the first single, Suedehead, was released and the reviews were very good.
Morrissey's first solo album, Viva Hate, came in 1988 and it sold very well. After a year, the partnership with Street ended and Morrissey quickly put together a new bunch of people and released the single Ouija Board, Ouija Board. But now the press turned on him and he was picked on almost daily in the papers. Morrissey severed all contact with the media and started to work on a new album. It proved to be difficult and the LP was scrapped. Instead he released a couple of singles, one of them being November Spawned A Monster. It proved to be a success and the fans loved the new sound. To Morrissey it proved that he really could continue on his own.
After 1990's Bona Drag came Kill Uncle for which Morrissey had recruited a new guitarist, Mark Nevin. After this he hooked up with guitarist Boz Boorer and members from a local rock-a-billy band, Memphis Sinners, and went on a successful world tour. In 1992 Morrissey released Your Arsenal and the press was yet again positive. The album was nominated for a Grammy in the United States and became Morrissey's biggest sales hit ever. Unfortunately, things turned yet again when the song National front Disco was interpreted as pro-nationalist and the media portrayed him as a racist and a bigot. As if this wasn't enough, two of Morrissey's close friends passed away and a biography entitled Morrissey and Marr - the Severed Alliance hit the stores. The book drew the conclusion that it was Morrissey's vanity and ego that had put an end to The Smiths.
Despite the rough times, Morrissey recorded a new album, Vauxhall and I, which was released in 1994. It became his most critically acclaimed album, and it's lead single The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get proved to be his best selling single ever.
New British bands like Blur and Oasis emerged and Morrissey was forced to step aside. He left EMI and began to work with Island Records. Of course more truble was on it's way. In 1997, former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce sued Morrissey and Johnny Marr for royalties. The court ruled in Joyce's favour and Morrissey and Marr had to pay millions. Once again Morrissey turned his problems into music and released the LP Maladjusted. The song Sorrow Will Come in the End directly deals with the court proceedings.