[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/smiths.jpg]]

->''So, I broke into the palace\\
With a sponge and a rusty spanner\\
She said: "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"\\
I said: "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano.''"
-->--'''The Smiths,''' "''The Queen is Dead"''


The Smiths were a [[OopNorth Manchester]]-based {{alternative rock}} band that formed in 1982 and broke up in 1987. Based on the songwriting partnership of Music/{{Morrissey}} (vocals) and Music/JohnnyMarr (guitar), the band also included Andy Rourke (bass) and Mike Joyce (drums). Their sound was largely defined by the combination of Morrissey's witty, DeadpanSnarker lyrics and {{Camp}}y, {{Melodrama}}tic vocals, Marr's jangly, catchy pop-rock melodies (drawing a lot from Music/TheBeatles, PowerPop and classic rock) and the steady support of the Rourke-Joyce rhythm section, but they've branched out beyond pop-rock and experimented over the course of their career.

Widely regarded as one of the most important bands to emerge from the British indie music scene of TheEighties, the Smiths had a major influence on other artists, including Music/{{Radiohead}}, Music/TheStoneRoses, and Suede. The band's influence on British alternative and indie rock is often compared to the influence Music/{{REM}} had on American alternative rock.

After the break up, Music/{{Morrissey}} went on to have a successful solo career. Johnny formed Electronic with Music/JoyDivision[=/=]Music/NewOrder guitarist Bernard Sumner, and also formed the short-lived Johnny Marr & the Healers. He also played with cult alternative rockers The The and has done session work for too many artists to list. He was a member of the American indie rock band Modest Mouse from 2005 to 2008. After leaving Modest Mouse, he joined the British indie band The Cribs which he was a member of from 2008 to 2011.

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[[folder: Discography: ]]

* ''[[SelfTitledAlbum The Smiths]]'' (1984)
* ''Meat Is Murder'' (1985)
* ''The Queen Is Dead'' (1986)
* ''Strangeways, Here We Come'' (1987)

Their numerous non-album singles and b-sides are collected on:
* ''Hatful of Hollow'' (1984)
* ''The World Won't Listen'' (1987)
** and its far more famous American equivalent ''Louder Than Bombs'', issued the same year.

Vote for your favourite Smiths album by heading over to the [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/Sandbox/BestAlbumTheSmiths Best Album crowner]]!

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!!! "I'd go out tonight, but I haven't got a trope to wear...":
* [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys All Boys Want Bad Boys]]
* AlliterativeTitle: "Death of a Disco Dancer", "Meat is Murder", "Rubber Ring", "Rushholme Ruffians", "Shakespeare's Sister", "These Things Take Time", "Well I Wonder", "What's the World", "Wonderful Woman".
** In the consonance department, there's "Still Ill".
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: The Smiths are one of the few Manchester-based bands of their era not to have signed with Factory Records.
* AmusingInjuries: "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before."
* AntiLoveSong: "Unhappy Birthday"
* AuthorAppeal: "This Charming Man" and "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" both mention leather car seats, which Morrissey admitted to finding "[[{{Fetish}} erotic]]." And then there's his interest in ruffians and criminals, which became even more pronounced in his solo work.
* AutoErotica: "You've Got Everything Now"
* BanisterSlide: "Vicar In A Tutu"
* BlackComedy: Present in a lot of their songs, as a counterbalance to the more depressing lyrics.
** "Unhappy Birthday" is a prime example, with morbid lyrics made funny by their matter-of fact delivery and anticlimactic nature (the narrator shoots himself toward the end of the song, but it keeps going).
** "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" managed to be both quite sad and quite funny at the same time.
* BlackSheepHit: Their best known song, "How Soon Is Now?", doesn't sound like their usual jangly style - it's more dance-rock.
* BoardingSchoolOfHorrors: "The Headmaster Ritual", written about the horrors of the UsefulNotes/BritishEducationSystem as corporal punishment was still legal at the time. The song was released in 1985, and corporal punishment was banned in state schools and state-funded private schools in 1987, and then for all other private schools in 1999 (England and Wales), 2000 (Scotland) and 2003 (Northern Ireland). See SocietyMarchesOn.
* ClosetKey: "This Charming Man"
* CoolShades: One of Johnny Marr's favorite fashion accessories.
* CovertPervert: [[FanNickname Moz]] himself.
* CoverVersion: "Work Is a Four-Letter Word" by Cilla Black and "Golden Lights" by {{Twinkle}} are infamous for incensing Johnny Marr to the point that he left the band, leading to their breakup.
-->'''Johnny''': I wrote "I Keep Mine Hidden", which I liked, but "Work Is a Four-Letter Word" I hated. That was the last straw, really. I didn't form a group to perform Cilla Black songs.
* CreditsGag: According to the liner notes to ''The Queen Is Dead'', the backing vocals to "Bigmouth Strikes Again" are performed by Ann Coates... In reality, those vocals were Morrissey's own voice sped up, and "Ann Coates" is a pun on Ancoats, a district of Manchester.
* DeadArtistsAreBetter: "Paint A Vulgar Picture" is about this, and how it's exploited.
* DeadpanSnarker: Morrissey is notable RealLife example of this.
* DeanBitterman: "The Headmaster Ritual"
* DoubleEntendre: Too many lyrics to list.
* DrowningMySorrows: "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"
-->Oh, so I drank one
-->It became four
-->And when I fell on the floor
-->...I drank more
* DumbassDJ: "Panic" was inspired by one at the BBC who played Wham's "I'm Your Man" after announcing the Chernobyl disaster, namely Steve Wright.
* DudeShesLikeInAComa: "Girlfriend in a coma, I know, I know, it's really serious." Alternate trope title.
* TheEighties
* EpicRocking: "How Soon Is Now?", "The Queen Is Dead" and "Barbarism Begins At Home" all exceed the 6-minute mark.
** By album:
*** The Smiths Reel Around The Fountain (5:58) and Suffer Little Children (5:28)
*** Meat Is Murder: Barbarism Begins At Home (6:57) and the title track (6:06)
*** The Queen Is Dead: The title track (6:24) and I Know It's Over (5:48)
*** Strangeways, Here We Come: Death Of A Disco Dancer (5:26), Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me (5:01), Paint A Vulgar Picture (5:35)
*** Hatful Of Hollow: How Soon Is Now? (6:44), Reel Around The Fountain (5:51, from The Peel Sessions)
*** Rank: Bigmouth Strikes Again (5:51)
*** Neither The World Won't Listen Or Louder Than Bombs have any.
* FakeOutFadeOut: "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" fades out, then back in before carrying on for another minute and fading out again.
** Inverted with "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" where the song fades out rapidly and then fades slowly back in at the ''beginning'' of the song.
* LesserStar: Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke. The band's contract apparently only listed Morrissey and Marr as the official members of the band. Joyce and Rourke even sued the other half of the band for royalties that were owed them. Although Rourke wound up settling amicably out of court with Morrissey and Marr, Joyce kept pushing his part of the lawsuit and received a 1 million pound settlement (which in turn alienated him from Rourke). Morrissey claims that Joyce is the main reason why the Smiths will never reunite, moreso than his rift with Marr.
* {{Gayngst}}
* {{Hypocrite}}: Even after releasing ''Meat is Murder'', Morrissey admitted to wearing leather shoes until synthetic leather shoes became more widespread years later.
* IWantSong: "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want"
* IntercourseWithYou: "Stretch Out And Wait", "Reel Around The Fountain", and "Handsome Devil" are some of the less subtle examples.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Morrissey.
* JustJokingJustification: The aptly titled "Bigmouth Strikes Again." "Sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking when I said I'd like to smash every tooth in your head..."
* LargeHam: Morrissey, frequently and entertainingly.
* LongTitle: "Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before", "Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want", "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me", "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", etc. It's safe to say that they were ''in love'' with this trope. Morrissey's solo work also uses ridiculously long song titles.
* LyricalDissonance: Sonically, they were like a slightly less murky Music/{{REM}}. Lyrically, they were like a funnier Music/TheCure.
* MadLove: A theme in some of their songs.
* MinisculeRocking: "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" comes in at a brisk 1:50.
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: The Smiths never went very high up it, pushing a 3-4 at most in their most aggressive moments- the lyrics were where the darkness was, not the music. However, when asked in an [[http://www.avclub.com/articles/johnny-marr-has-no-negative-thoughts-about-the-smi,73276/ AV Club interview]], Johnny Marr [[DiscussedTrope discussed]] the trope by mentioning how he felt that bands that drew inspiration from the Smiths like Belle and Sebastian were too lightweight compared to them:
-->Iíve heard some records by bands that came after us who had their music been any more fey and lightweight, then Iíd expect petals to come out of the speakers. [Laughs.] Thatís kind of missing what we were about, because The Smiths were not all ďOscar Wilde at 3:30 in the afternoonĒ and feyness. The truth of it is, if you were to see any songs from any of our shows, we were, what I would say, quite heavy. Even the ballads were intense. We were a rock band, really, that played a type of pop music, if I care to analyze it. I donít know very much about The Wedding Presentís music, but what Iíve heard of Belle & Sebastian was often quite fey, and light in a very deliberate way. I think they have their own thing, which is absolutely fine. But I donít actually think they sound like The Smiths.
** "How Soon is Now?" is probably a 5 or 6
* MoneySong: "Frankly, Mr. Shankly".
* MyGreatestFailure: Marr admitted to ''Guitar Player'' magazine in 1990 that he regrets not writing down how he achieved the slide guitar sound of "How Soon Is Now?":
--> I wish I could remember exactly how we did the slide part -- not writing it down is one of the banes of my life! We did it in three passes through a harmonizer, set to some weird interval, like a sixth. There was a different harmonization for each pass. For the line in harmonics, I retuned the guitar so that I could play it all at the 12th fret with natural harmonics. It's doubled several times.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''The Queen is Dead'', which featured more elaborate production than on their previous albums and singles. And then there is ''Strangeways, Here We Come'' which largely abandons the jangle pop sound that they are known for.
* NonAppearingTitle: "Paint a Vulgar Picture," though the original demo version does include it ("and they paint a vulgar picture / of the way they say you were").
* ObsessionSong: "Paint a Vulgar Picture"
* OnlyOneName: Morrissey.
* OopNorth
* ThePeteBest: Dale Hibbert, their first bass player, was fired after their first gig because Johnny Marr felt he wasn't a good fit for the band. Since he worked at a studio, he was able to help the band record their first demos.
* ProtestSong: "The Headmaster Ritual", "Meat Is Murder", and "Barbarism Begins At Home"
* RealitySubtext: According to Tony Fletcher's bio of the band, ''A Light That Never Goes Out'', "The Headmaster Ritual" was based on an actual daily event of that name at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Secondary Modern, Morrissey's alma mater, where during morning assembly the headmaster would find some minor detail amiss about some child's, say, uniform, call him up to the front and excoriate him for it in front of the entire school, then take him down to his office and give the kid a couple on the bare buttocks with a leather strap. And that was just the ''official'' punishment.
* RecursiveImport: ''Louder Than Bombs'' was initially released in America, but Rough Trade issued it in the U.K. a few months after the release of ''The World Won't Listen'' simply to save obsessive fans from having to pay high import prices. It retailed for the price of a single LP despite being a double album, though some fans [[UnpleasableFanbase did complain]] about having to pay twice for what was essentially the same thing.
* SadisticTeacher: "The Headmaster Ritual".
* SelfDeprecation: Quite often. "The Queen Is Dead" features the lyric "I know you and you can't sing/That's nothing, you should hear me play the piano". (Morrissey later fulfilled his threat on "Death of a Disco Dancer".)
* SerialKiller: The song "Suffer Little Children" was written about RealLife killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Morrissey's fascination with serial killers continued in his solo career with songs like "JackTheRipper."
* ShirtlessScene: Moz at almost every concert and quite a few photo shoots.
* SixthRanger: Craig Gannon
* SmallNameBigEgo: Morrissey.
* SmokingIsCool: Admit it, Johnny looked pretty damn cool with a cigarette.
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent: ''Strangeways, Here We Come'' opens with the guitarless "A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours."
** "Oscillate Wildly", "The Draize Train", and "Money Changes Everything" were the only instrumentals released by the band.
** "Death of a Disco Dancer" is among the very few Smiths songs where Morrissey "plays" an instrument (the piano).
* SpoofAesop: The entirety of "Accept Yourself," but especially:
-->Every day you must say
-->Oh, how do I feel about my shoes?
* StageNames: [[OnlyOneName Morrissey]]'s full name is Steven Patrick Morrissey, and Johnny Marr's real name is John Maher. (The latter changed his name to [[OneSteveLimit avoid confusion with the drummer of the Buzzcocks]].)
** And he chose Johnny Marr because it [[StealthPun sounds like]] the [[GeniusBonus French phrase 'J'en ai marre']], which roughly means 'I'm fed up with it all'.
* ThreeChordsAndTheTruth: To an extent. The band's music was generally intricate and melodic but the emphasis on guitar-based rock was a reaction against synthesizer-heavy Eighties pop music.
* TruckDriversGearChange: Quite a few of them in "Paint A Vulgar Picture," so that each verse seems to ascend into the next one, finally building up to the climatic guitar solo (the only one the Smiths' musical catalogue).
* UnrequitedLove: A recurring lyrical theme, often going straight into ObsessionSong territory. Notable examples include "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", "I Want The One I Can't Have", and "I Know It's Over."
* UrExample: "How Soon is Now?" might be the UrExample of {{Shoegazing}}
* TechnologyMarchesOn: The line 'and her Walkman started to melt' from "Bigmouth Strikes Again" is often updated by Morrissey in live performances to 'and her iPod started to melt'.
* TheVicar: The subject of the aptly named "Vicar In A Tutu."
* WholesomeCrossdresser: The title character of "Vicar In A Tutu."
* WordSaladTitle: The band named themselves "the Smiths" as a [[AvertedTrope reaction against]] the word salad band names of their contemporaries.
* WriterOnBoard: ''Meat is Murder'' is most likely an example, as Morrisey supports PETA and has stated he accepts the violent actions of {{Animal Wrongs Group}}s. Based on interviews they've given, the rest of the band seems to have reacted to his fervency with mild exasperation, but they are all vegetarians as well and avoid animal products.
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: Apparently both Morrissey and Marr have forbade the Prime Minister David Cameron from listening to The Smiths.
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