Music

Morrissey

Born 22 May 1959.

UK singer, The Smiths

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Morrissey with David Jensen

Steve Lamacq introduces an archive interview with Morrissey by David Jensen from 1983.

Featured in BBC Music Clips

Biography

Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959), commonly known by his last name, Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the band the Smiths. 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 on ten occasions. His first solo album, 1988's Viva Hate, entered the UK albums chart at number one.

He is widely regarded as an important innovator in the indie music scene; music magazine NME considers Morrissey to be "one of the most influential artists ever", while The Independent says, "Most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status he has reached in his lifetime." In 2004, Pitchfork Media called him "one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture from the last 20 years."

Morrissey's lyrics have been described as "dramatic, bleak, funny vignettes about doomed relationships, lonely nightclubs, the burden of the past and the prison of the home". He is also noted for his unusual baritone vocal style (though he sometimes uses falsetto), his quiff haircut and his dynamic live performances. Media controversies have been caused by his forthright and often contrarian opinions, and he has also attracted media attention for his advocacy of vegetarianism and animal rights. He describes himself in his autobiography as an animal protectionist.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Viva Hate

    Viva Hate 2012

    Reviewed by Martin Aston
    Moz has taken his editor’s hand to this solo debut – but does it lead to better results?
  2. Review of Very Best Of

    Very Best Of 2011

    Reviewed by Stephen Kelly
    Great songs, certainly, but this is not the very best of it’s sold as.
  3. Review of Swords

    Swords 2009

    Reviewed by Nadine McBay
    Swords largely sounds like what it is: an off-cuts album.
  4. Review of Years of Refusal

    Years of Refusal 2009

    Reviewed by Tom Byford
    This is one more step to ensuring a lasting legacy.
  5. Review of Greatest Hits

    Greatest Hits 2008

    Reviewed by Chris Long
    Greatest Hits is neither the best starting point for a bequiffed novice or a true...
  6. Review of Ringleader Of The Tormentors

    Ringleader Of The Tormentors 2006

    Reviewed by Jaime Gill
    Much of this album is his freshest, boldest work yet.
  7. Review of Who Put the "M" In Manchester? (DVD)

    Who Put the "M" In Manchester? (DVD) 2005

    Reviewed by Chris Long
    Seven years in exile, Morrissey returns to the stage on his 45th birthday, in the...
  8. Review of You Are The Quarry

    You Are The Quarry 2004

    Reviewed by Bren O'Callaghan
    Thankfully Morrissey's blunt, Northern vowels also remain intact, witness 'First Of...
  9. Review of Your Arsenal

    Your Arsenal 1996

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    It’s quality songs like this that enabled Morrissey to continue his irresistible rise.
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