Formed in Manchester in 1982 around the songwriting duo of Morrissey and Johnny Marr, the shadow of The Smiths loomed large over the independent scene in the 80s. Morrissey's enigmatic persona, with his self-confessed celibacy, militant vegetarianism and obsession with forgotten 1960s movie stars, launched a thousand clones. Johnny Marr's effortless knack for a melody melded perfectly with his partner's grimly witty observations on life and death. Supported by bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce, The Smiths reeled off countless hits like 'This Charming Man', 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now', 'Panic' and 'Ask'. The band flourished with landmark Peel sessions that were, for many, their first introduction to The Smiths and were compiled on the superb 'Hatful Of Hollow' album. The band were about to sign to EMI after four excellent albums, but suddenly split in 1987 amid much acrimony. With Morrissey's current 'superstar' solo career, a reunion currently seems unlikely.
"When we first got tns, and as a result they pretty much became the definitive versions of the songs we recorded for John.
"What happened to us was that whenever a session came up, we wrote songs, because we needed them, especially for the session. 'This Charming Man', for example, was written because we had a John Peel session and we didn't have enough songs. The session was on a Friday, and on the Tuesday I just got out of bed and wrote this tune because we needed another song for the session."
- Johnny Marr, The Smiths