For a band that was only active between 1982 and 1987, The Smiths left a lasting impression on the world of Indie and Pop music alike despite only releasing 4 studio albums, 3 compilations and a pile of singles. Chances are, even if you think you haven’t heard of them, a Smiths track has most likely made its way to your ears at some point in the last few years.
Considering what was topping the charts in the U.S. in the mid 80s (think Van Halen, Wham!, Whitney Houston), it is not terribly surprising that The Smiths were not a huge commercial success on this side of the pond. However, it is easy to see how they sought to set themselves apart from this synthesizer-laden crowd. The combination of Johnny Marr’s compositions and Morrissey’s lyrics and charisma as a vocalist turned the dregs of ordinary life into the soundtrack for disaffected youth with a blend of wry humor and loneliness.
To say that The Smiths were influential is an understatement. You can hear The Smiths in everything from Pulp to The National; in bands that have crossed the line from Indie to Pop such as REM and Radiohead. Even commercially successful Emo groups such as Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance owe a debt of gratitude to the original consoler of the lonely.
Are you already a loyal follower of The Smiths? What other U.K. bands do you consider influential who may not have gotten the credit they deserve?
If you like: My Chemical Romance, Dashboard Confessional, The National, The Cure
Check out: The Smiths (start with The Queen is Dead, progress to Strangeways, Here We Come, and graduate to Meat is Murder, The Smiths, and Hatful of Hollow)
Feeling brave : Pulp, The Dears, Belle & Sebastian, Joy Division
AI level: Intermediate