Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May, 1959), better known as Morrissey is an English musician. Morrissey rose to fame in the 1980s as the singer and frontman of English alternative band The Smiths. After the demise of The Smiths, Morrissey has made a relatively successful solo career.
Morrissey was born on May 22, 1959 at Park Hospital in Davyhulme, Lancashire to Irish Catholic parents who had emigrated to Manchester from County Kildare with his only sibling, elder sister Jackie, a year prior to his birth. His father, Peter, was a hospital porter and his mother, Elizabeth (née Dwyer), was an assistant librarian. Morrissey was raised in inner-city Manchester. His family first lived at Harper Street in Hulme before moving to nearby Queen's Square in 1965. In 1969, when many of the old streets and tenements were facing demolition, Morrissey's parents moved to a three-bedroom house in King's Road in the suburb of Stretford.
He moved to Los Angeles, California in the early 1990s.
Morrissey obtained a driver's license in 1993. He is known to have owned a 1977 Aston Martin V8, before selling it in 2005.
Morrissey was forced to cancel a series of shows on his US tour after being taken to hospital, reportedly due to a bladder infection. He later clarified that he suffering from a bleeding ulcer and has revealed he has been treated for a throat condition that could turn cancerous. He made a statement on True To You where he revealed was also treated for a condition called Barrett's oesophagus.He was later forced to cancel more shows after contracting double pneumonia, and effectively cancelled the remaining leg of his North American tour on 15 March 2013.
Formative years (1977-1981)Edit
Morrissey has been said to be the president of the United Kingdom branch of the New York Dolls fan club, although he has denied even being a member of the club. He articulated his love for the group in the documentary New York Doll: "Some bands grab you and they never let you go and, no matter what they do, they can never let you down ... the Dolls were that for me."
Moving on from earlier muses, Morrissey became one of the early fans of punk rock. He went on to briefly front punk rock band The Nosebleeds in 1978, touring with them for a number of concerts. Morrissey founded The Cramps fan club "The Legion of the Cramped" with fellow fan Lindsay Hutton, although he scaled down his involvement with the club gradually as he began to focus on his own music career.
The Smiths (1982-1987)Edit
The Smiths were based upon the songwriting partnership of Morrissey and Johnny Marr. Drummer Simon Wolstencroft recorded a few demos, before leaving and being replaced by Mike Joyce in 1982, as he did not like Morrissey's voice. Dale Hibbert was hired as bassist on the basis of his ability to provide after-hour recording facilities at Decibelle studio. He was replaced after a few gigs by Marr's best mate Andy Rourke, as the band did not agree with his personality or style of playing. The band signed on to indie label Rough Trade Records. They released their first single, Hand in Glove, in May 1983. It failed to chart, despite heavy promotion from DJ John Peel. Follow-up singles "This Charming Man" and "What Difference Does It Make?" fared better when they reached numbers 25 and 12 respectively on the UK Singles Chart.
The Smiths released their debut eponymous album in 1984, with even better success, peaking at number two in the UK Albums Chart. This was followed by two non-album singles, "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" and "William, It Was Really Nothing". "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" was The Smiths' first single to reach number ten on the UK Singles Chart, and marked the beginning of producer Stephen Street's work with the band.
A second album entitled Meat Is Murder was released in February 1985. Meat marked a more politically driven message in Morrissey's songs, manifesting in the eponymous album track. The album was the band's first and only chart-topping work. Two singles (That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore and Shakespeare's Sister) drawn from the album, fared poorly compared to previous performances (#26 and #49 at their peak, respectively).
In the same year, The Smiths undertook tours of the States and the United Kingdom, while juggling recording of their fourth album The Queen Is Dead. A legal dispute with Rough Trade delayed the release of The Queen Is Dead by seven months, however. Adding to the growing problems of the band, Marr turned to the bottle to cope with stress. Rourke was fired, reportedly by means of a note handwritten by Morrissey and left on his car, although he was reinstated after a fortnight. Guitarist Craig Gannon was hired, moving to rhythm guitar. The new five-men band recorded Panic and Ask (the latter with Kirsty MacColl on backing vocals), while undertaking a second tour of the UK. Gannon left the band in October 1986 after the end of the tour. Frustrations with Rough Trade on part of The Smiths sans Gannon mounted, and the group sought a deal, ultimately (and controversially) signing with EMI.
Early 1987 saw the release of the single Shoplifters Of The World Unite, peaking at #12 on the UK Singles Chart. The second compilation The World Won't Listen was released, peaking at #2 on the albums chart. This was paired by the release of American-exclusive compilation Louder Than Bombs. Sheila Take A Bow was released, hitting the top 10 on the singles chart for the second time in the band's history (and the last during the lifetime of the band).
Despite growing and continued success, personal tensions emerged within the band. Marr was growing frustrated with Morrissey's difficult personality and musical inflexibility. Morrissey himself was not pleased with Marr's musical work outside of The Smiths. In 1987, Marr left the band permanently (originally planning to take a breather) after discovering the article "Smiths to Split", which he suspected was planted by Morrissey. Auditions to find a replacement resulted in the hire of Ivor Perry. The band was unable to continue on, in part due to Morrissey refusing to co-operate with Perry. This resulted in the final, total split of The Smiths.
Morrissey has made a relatively successful career with the help of several other backing musicians. A notable change in his music is his lower vocal range and the use of synthesisers - the latter of which he once declared (during the Smiths era) as "repellant".
- Brookside South (1988) - Himself
- Morrissey was reportedly approached to guest-star in The Simpsons episode "The Regina Monologues", although he declined. The episode saw other guest stars amongst the likes of then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair and author (and Morrissey and The Smiths fan) J.K. Rowling.
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