Wednesday, October 27, 2010
OH SHUT YOUR MOUTH HOW CAN YOU SAY I GO ABOUT THINGS THE WRONG WAY
James Dean, "James Dean Is Not Dead", published by his early 20s. His literary influences ranged from Oscar Wilde to Johann Wolfgang Goethe, though he was also an avid fan of pop music and film. Some of his primary musical idols were David Bowie, Ray Davies and Marc Bolan. In 1982, Morrissey was approached by local Mancunian guitarist and songwriter Johnny Marr. Marr asked him to collaborate, and so began possibly the greatest songwriting duo of the 1980s. Morrissey's witty and morbidly sentimental lyrics were a perfect match with Marr's odd chord progressions and unusual tunings. They soon added Marr's schoolmates Andy Rourke (bass) and Mike Joyce (drums). The duo became a quartet and dubbed themselves The Smiths. The Smiths released six studio albums and several catchy three-minute singles from 1983 to 1987. The band found critical acclaim in both their native England and the US. They never broke into the mainstream in the US, though they became college radio legends, mainly due to Morrissey's intelligent but often controversial themes. The band broke up in 1987 over a conflict of musical interest between Morrissey and Marr. Morrissey found solo success after The Smiths, achieving a far greater status in the US than The Smiths ever had. His greatest triumph was 1992's "Your Arsenal", which was nominated for a Grammy for best alternative album. The album was produced by former David Bowieguitarist Mick Ronson. In 1997, former The Smiths drummer Mike Joyce successfully sued Morrissey and Marr over songwriting royalties. The chance of a "Smiths" reunion seems bleak, but their music will continue to be played by devoted, intelligent fans everywhere. To put it simply, the music of Steven Morrissey and The Smiths was "as smart as pop music gets".