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Morrissey
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Morrissey

This article is about the singer Steven Morrissey, who is more commonly known as Morrissey. For other meanings of the word see Morrissey (disambiguation).

Steven Patrick Morrissey, (born May 22, 1959, Manchester, England), who has since dropped his forenames to become Morrissey, was the lead singer of The Smiths. After the band broke up in 1987, Morrissey developed a successful solo career.

The Smiths were seen by many to be a landmark band of the 1980s post-punk era. Morrissey's ambiguous sexuality, provocative iconoclasm, and heartfelt lyrical compositions blended with guitarist Johnny Marr's highly melodic songwriting to stun listeners. The band became an enormous success in the UK, Ireland, and Australia while only a cult obsession in the United States of America, doing quite well on college radio charts.

The band broke up due to conflict between Morrissey and Marr, after an enormously productive period from 1985 to 1987 when they released several highly successful albums: Meat Is Murder, Strangeways, Here We Come, and the colossal hit The Queen is Dead (a regular member of "Best Albums of All Time" lists and easily one of the most influential of the 1980s).

Morrissey's work, both solo and with the Smiths, has long held a special place within England's artistic community as well as, separately, the gay community in general. His amibigous demeanor and song titles (especially the rare "I Want a Boy for my Birthday") left many people smiling to themselves. His witty but often acidic lyrics seldom stand on ceremony and usually say exactly what they mean.

Morrissey's subsequent career has provided equally influential albums and in 1994 he achieved his highest ever chart position with the best-selling Vauxhall and I (1994) and its single "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get". After producing several albums in the early years of his solo career with a production outfit not unlike his collaboration with Marr, Morrissey moved on from the songwriting services of Stephen Street for Viva Hate (1988) and Bona Drag (1990) and Mark Nevin for Kill Uncle (1991). The band he assembled for 1992's hit album Your Arsenal sharply renewed his sound and sales success with a fresh, American rockabilly sound evocative of Marr's melodic seriousness but with rejuvenating rhythmic energy. Composition duties were split between guitarists Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte, who have been the core of Morrissey's band ever since.

Famously uninterested in compromise or record company marketing principles, Morrissey has long suffered the consequences of operating as a quasi-outsider in the music industry. Though his large and rabidly loyal fan base follows his every move, his albums since 1996 had great trouble reaching a wider audience. Between 1999 and 2003, the legendary Morrissey was unable to find a record contract at all (at least one that satisfied his demands).

Accusations of racism meant he spent much of the 1990s maligned, based upon songs such as "Bengali In Platforms" and "The National Front Disco" as well as an ill-advised performance at the first Madness re-union show at Finsbury Park, London draped in the Union Flag.

Morrissey vacated his English home for Los Angeles in the late-1990s and found an entirely new life in the American West. In June, 2003 Sanctuary Records group announced a deal with Morrissey. He was given the one-time reggae label Attack as a platform to record new material and, reportedly, to sign new artists.

Morrissey's latest, titled You Are the Quarry was released on May 17, 2004 (but one day later in the US). Guitarist Alain Whyte described the work as a mix between Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I, and the album has received strong reviews. The first single, "Irish Blood, English Heart" debuted on KROQ on March 22, 2004 and was released internationally on May 10, 2004. The single reached No.3 in its first week of sales in the UK Official Charts. This is the highest placing chart position for Morrissey in his entire career as both a solo artist and the lead singer of The Smiths.

At a Dublin concert on June 5 2004, Morrissey caused global controversy by announcing the death of former US President, Ronald Reagan; then exclaiming he would have preferred it if George W. Bush had died. [1]

Trivia

In June 2004 the British newspaper The Observer asked Morrissey what his top ten favourite British albums were. He responded he could only think of one great British album: For Your Pleasure by Roxy Music.

Albums