For other uses, see Morrissey (disambiguation).
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Steven Morrissey
Steven Patrick Morrissey, (born May 22, 1959 in Manchester in England) dropped his forenames to become Morrissey, the lead singer of the seminal UK 'indie' band, The Smiths. When the band broke up in 1987, Morrissey developed a successful solo career and is one of only a few artists to have had UK top ten singles in three separate decades.


The Smiths are viewed by many as one of the most influential bands of the 1980s post-punk era. Morrissey's ambiguous sexuality, provocative iconoclasm, and lyrical compositions blended with guitarist Johnny Marr's highly melodic songwriting to sell many recordings. The band became a success in the UK, Ireland, and Australia and became a cult obsession in the United States of America, doing quite well on college radio charts with songs such as "How Soon Is Now?", and "Panic."

The band broke up due to conflict between Morrissey and Marr, after a productive period from 1985 to 1987 when they released several successful albums: Meat Is Murder, Strangeways, Here We Come, and the hit The Queen is Dead.

Morrissey's work, both solo and with the Smiths, has been well regarded within England's artistic community and within the artistic establishment of England, even though he now lives in Los Angeles.

In the eighties Morrissey announced that he lived in celibacy. Some people believed him to be gay because the lyrics he wrote in The Smiths were sometimes full of references to homosexuality. Also, Morrissey's two big idols Oscar Wilde and James Dean had sexual relationships with men. Morrissey has never talked about his sexuality and his private life which has irritated some people. An openly gay journalist Richard Smith wrote that Morrissey should come out of the closet so he would make a favour to gay people. Mark Simpson, another gay journalist didn't agree with Smith and he wrote that "Morrissey's ambition, his perversity, his sensibility was far too large, too talented, too vicious to be fitted into this harmless, silly, precious, sequinned little word 'gay'."

Morrissey's subsequent career has also provided successful albums, and in 1994 he achieved his highest ever chart position with 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. Composition duties were split between guitarists Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte, who have been the core of Morrissey's band ever since.

Reputed to be 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 loyal fan base follow his every move, his albums since 1996 had great trouble reaching a wider audience. Between 1999 and 2003, 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 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.

In 1996, The Smiths drummer Mike Joyce sued Morrissey and Johnny Marr for royalties and won. Morrissey has said that the experience was shocking and in the song Sorrow Will Come in the End he attacks The Court of Justice stating that it has "no use for truth" and says to a fictional person that "sorrow will come to you in the end." This is a message to both the lawyer and also to Mike Joyce whom Morrissey nowadays despises.

Morrissey has always been outspoken and is known for his comments that have sparked controversy and outcry. His most famous enemies have been The Royal Family, the meat industry and former English prime minister Margaret Thatcher. In a 2002 tour he famously said "bring me the head of Elton John." He has severely criticized artists like Madonna and George Michael. Other targets of his disapproval have been Band Aid, rap, reggae, rave and teenage popstars.

Morrissey vacated his English home for Los Angeles in the late-1990s and found an entirely new life in the American West where, to the interest of many, he has connected with the Hispanic community, where there is now a big fan base. Morrissey's songs of alienation and isolation have appeared to translate lock, stock and barrel from the streets of Manchester to the barrios of LA, something that he himself has expressed surprise and gratitude about.

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Morrissey on the cover of his 2004 album You Are The Quarry.

In June, 2003 Sanctuary Records group announced a deal with Morrissey. He was given the one-time reggae label Attack Records 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] (

With the release of I Have Forgiven Jesus in December 2004, Morrissey became the only artist to score 4 top 10 hits in the UK singles chart that year. [2] (


  • In a 1997 interview to support the release of "Alma Matters", the lead single from Maladjusted, Morrissey cited "Shoplifters of the World Unite" as his favourite Smiths song. The song is seen by many as a rebuke of Section 28.
  • 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.
  • J. K. Rowling, Bono, Noel Gallagher, Harry Hill, Craig Kilborn, Thom Yorke, Jonathan Ross, Douglas Coupland, Liam Gallagher, Ricky Gervais and Kathy Burke have all publicly stated they admire Morrissey's work. The title of Coupland's book, "Girlfriend in a Coma", is also the title of a Smiths song, and several references to Smiths lyrics are scattered through the book.
  • In Los Angeles, Morrissey–who is known to many fans by the nickname "Moz"–has found a large Latino audience. This new and rather unexpected fan base has even led to a new nickname for L.A.: Moz Angeles.
  • In October 2004, Morrissey released a politically charged statement urging American voters to vote against George W. Bush for President. Morrissey's statement was "With all my heart I urge people to vote against George Bush. Jon Stewart would be ideal, but John Kerry is the logical and sane move. It does not need to be said yet again, but Bush has single-handedly turned the United States into the most neurotic and terror-obsessed country on the planet. For non-Americans, the United States is suddenly not a very nice place to visit because US immigration officers — under the rules of Bush — now conduct themselves with all the charm and unanswerable indignation of Hitler’s SS. Please bring sanity and intelligence back to the United States. Don’t forget to vote. Vote for John Kerry and get rid of George Bush!" [3] (
  • Morrissey apparently is involved in a long-standing feud with The Cure lead singer/guitarist Robert Smith.
  • Morrissey is noted for using and liking the Southam Street work of photographer Roger Mayne.
  • Morrissey is a long-time ethical vegetarian and an advocate for animal rights
  • One of his chief sources of inspiration was the play "A Taste of Honey" by Shelagh Delaney (later turned into a movie), from which he borrowed many lines to use in his songs.
  • Morrissey was rumored to be romantically linked to Billy Mackenzie of The Associates in the early 1980s. Mackenzie is rumored to be the subject of The Smiths' hit song "William, It Was Really Nothing", and the rumor is furthered by The Associates' response song "Stephen, You Were Really Something".
  • On more than one occasion, Morrissey has cancelled scheduled concert appearances abruptly. On May 27, 2005, Morrissey's official Website released the following statement: "Morrissey will regrettably not be appearing at the Isle of Wight Festival on the 11th of June as scheduled. The pressure of preparing the new album and losing his drummer earlier this month has made it impossible to do the gig without massively compromising both the gig and the album. Apologies to all the fans, the organisers and the people of the Isle Of Wight."[4] (
  • In retaliation to the above-mentioned statement, a contradictory statement, purportedly made by Morrissey, was published on May 28, 2005 on a Website run by longtime Morrissey fan Julia Riley: "I have not ever, at any time, agreed to play the Isle of Wight Festival. The announcement that I would play was made by Sanctuary—and it was their error. However, record companies will never take the blame for their own mistakes and Sanctuary’s press statement today reflects this. In truth, I am not at all under pressure with the follow-up to You Are The Quarry—everything is in hand, and ready. However, my contract with Sanctuary ended last year and hasn’t been renewed. Hence, no promotional appearances for Live At Earls Court or the accompanying single. Surely somebody noticed? Secondly, I have NOT parted company with Deano, and I am annoyed that Sanctuary have thrown this in without consulting either Deano or myself. But that’s just the way it goes. Call it anything other than what it is. Thirdly, I have no connection at all with the site called It is controlled by Sanctuary and I am neither consulted nor involved. When a concert is announced in error—as with Japan last year—the inevitable news to follow is that I have “pulled out”; but I can’t pull out if I’ve never been in in the first place, and even though Janice Long kindly announced very early on that the IOW wouldn’t happen, unfortunately Sanctuary would not confirm this and this encouraged people to buy tickets. I am very angry about the IOW, but I can’t control Sanctuary. I also realise that, regardless of the facts, people will always blame me for any unfortunate incidents—somehow believing that I control the entire spectrum of human events. In truth, since our closing dates last year in London and Dublin, my personal involvement in anything that has followed has been sub minus zero. There will be a new signing for the new album, so please wait until you hear the news from my lips. Everything else is just gossip. love to you from MORRISSEY."[5] (


For his albums and singles releases with The Smiths, see this page.


UK singles with chart positions

  • 1988 "Suedehead" #5
  • 1988 "Everyday is Like Sunday" #9
  • 1989 "Last of the Famous International Playboys" #6
  • 1989 "Interesting Drug" #9
  • 1989 "Ouija Board Ouija Board" #18
  • 1990 "November Spawned a Monster" #12
  • 1990 "Piccadilly Palare" #18
  • 1991 "Our Frank" #26
  • 1991 "Sing Your Life" #33
  • 1991 "Pregnant for the Last Time" #25
  • 1991 "My Love Life" #29
  • 1992 "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful" #17
  • 1992 "You're the One for Me, Fatty" #19
  • 1992 "Certain People I Know" #35
  • 1994 "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" #8 (#46 US)
  • 1994 "Hold on to Your Friends" #47
  • 1994 "Interlude" (with Siouxsie) #25
  • 1995 "Boxers" #23
  • 1995 "Dagenham Dave" #26
  • 1995 "The Boy Racer" #36
  • 1995 "Sunny" #42
  • 1997 "Alma Matters" #16
  • 1997 "Roy's Keen" #42
  • 1998 "Satan Rejected My Soul" #39
  • 2004 "Irish Blood, English Heart" #3
  • 2004 "First of the Gang to Die" #6
  • 2004 "Let Me Kiss You" #8
  • 2004 "I Have Forgiven Jesus" #10
  • 2005 "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" / "Redondo Beach" #11

"The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" is the only Morrissey single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Several of his releases have charted on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.


  • Hulmerist (1990)
  • Live in Dallas (1992)
  • The Malady Lingers On (1992)
  • !Oye Estaban! (2000)
  • Who Put the M in Manchester? (2005)


Before gaining widespread recognition with The Smiths, Morrissey (then still with forename) wrote a number of booklets on his favourite cultural subjects, music and film.

External links


Template:The Smithsde:Morrissey es:Morrissey nl:Morrissey pt:Morrissey sv:Morrissey


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