Back in 1982, a group of four guys formed The Smiths, a band which would go on to become one of the most influential bands to emerge from the British independent music scene.
Fronted by the enigmatic lead vocalist Morrissey, The Smiths were destined for greatness with their one a kind guitarist Johnny Marr, bass player Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce. The band’s rise was fast and furious, pioneering the Britpop genre of the era while releasing four studio albums to critical acclaim in the process.
Blending numerous different genres from post-punk to synth-heavy pop music, Marr’s relentless guitar combined with Morrissey’s baritone voice and lyrical content seemed an unbreakable combination… until the group disbanded in 1987 amid growing unsavoury tensions between the members.
The break-up didn’t end Morrissey’s creative spark and, amid numerous different stylist changes and a major comeback to boot, the singer has since recorded, released and toured 12 studio albums as a solo artist. Stylistically, the singer has transitioned from the anti-establishment, self-deprecating figure who actively avoiding all the cliched stereotypes of rock music in the 1980s, to controversial celebrity aligned with the far-right politics and a certain vision of English national identity has been one that has ruffled more than a few feathers.
As Morrissey’s career—and legacy— becomes swamped with never-ending controversy amid his questionable political stance and outspoken opinions, it’s easy to forget the highly influential role Morrissey has played in the solidity of indie rock. Having once embarked on a career in music journalism, Morrissey has always been a keen student of the music that has existed before, around and in front of him. When sitting down with The Quietus a few years ago, the singer picked out 13 albums that have had an effect on his creative vision.
Having included the likes of Jeff Buckley and Roxy Music as part of his list, the former Smiths frontman went on to cite the Velvet Underground twice as an inspiration. “Talking of the modern poet in modern music and listening to Lou Reed as a part of The Velvet Underground, we are really listening to the WH Auden of the modern world,” Moz once said in an interview with Desert Island Discs. “Once again, not existing in print poetry but in recorded noise.”
Elsewhere, he added Damien Dempsey record Seize The Day, which comes as little surprise having once described himself as one of his biggest admirers while in conversation with True To You: “I’m the world’s biggest Damien Dempsey fan, but every night he kept saying exactly the same things on stage, so one night I met him walking offstage and jumped on his back. He enjoyed that… and… so did I …”
See Morrissey’s full list, below.
Morrissey’s top 13 albums of all time:
Jobriath – ‘Jobriath’
Jeff Buckley – ‘Grace’
The Smoking Popes – ‘Born To Quit’
Damien Dempsey – ‘Seize The Day’
Roxy Music – ‘For Your Pleasure’
The Velvet Underground – ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’
The Velvet Underground – ‘White Light/White Heat’
Sparks – ‘Kimono My House’
Iggy & The Stooges – ‘Raw Power’
Nico – ‘Chelsea Girl’
Patti Smith – ‘Horses’
Ramones – ‘Ramones’
New York Dolls – ‘New York Dolls’
Morrissey added: “Did you ever hear Born To Quit? It’s by the Smoking Popes. I thought that album was extraordinary, the most lovable thing I’d heard in years.”
With that in mind, here’s a taster:
Source: The Quietus