This I'm made of,
There is no one on Earth I'm afraid of,
And no regime can buy or sell me."
Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959), better known as just Morrissey, is a British singer and lyricist who first became known when he emerged in the early '80s as the lead singer of The Smiths. He went solo shortly after the breakup of the group in 1987 and has been going strong ever since.
His controversial opinions about subjects ranging from immigration to vegetarianism, as well as his contrary and somewhat arrogant nature, mean that he is very much the type you either love or hate. Although misanthropic, he is charming and genuinely affectionate towards devotees and the few people who have gained his trust.
Many are of the opinion that his music has a lot of subtext, though Moz himself has said that he believes that sexual orientation doesn't matter. Indeed, his lyrics tend to be gender- (and thus orientation-) neutral. Despite — or perhaps due to — his desire for privacy, debate still rages on as to his sexual orientation. Is he gay? Bisexual? Asexual? The best answer is perhaps simply that he's Morrissey.
His fans tend to be very loyal, much to the annoyance of the music press and some non-fans. He's also fairly well known in the music world for frequently canceling tours and concert dates at a moment's notice, for vague reasons.
In October 2014 he announced he had been receiving treatment for cancer. In a Spanish interview he said "They have scraped cancerous tissues four times already, but whatever, if I die, then I die. And if I don't, then I don't. Right now I feel good. I am aware that in some of my recent photos I look somewhat unhealthy, but that's what illness can do. I'm not going to worry about that, I'll rest when I'm dead."
- Viva Hate (1988)
- Kill Uncle (1991)
- Your Arsenal (1992)
- Vauxhall and I (1994)
- Southpaw Grammar (1995)
- Maladjusted (1997)
- You Are the Quarry (2004)
- Ringleader of the Tormentors (2006)
- Years of Refusal (2009)
- World Peace is None of Your Business (2014)
- Low In High School (2017)
His non-album singles and b-sides are collected on:
- Bona Drag (1990)
- World of Morrissey (1995)
- My Early Burglary Years (1998)
- Swords (2009)
Morrissey has also written a few books. These are:
- The New York Dolls (1981), a biography of New York Dolls.
- James Dean is Not Dead (1983), a biography of James Dean.
- Exit Smiling (1998), a book of film criticism written in 1979 but given a limited issue in 1998. All three of these books above are both incredibly short — each is under 100 pages — and incredibly rare and out of print.
- Autobiography (2013), his autobiography. Has a bit of a love-or-hate-it reputation.
- List of the Lost (2015), his debut novel. Received scathingly negative reviews, perhaps the worst of his career in any medium.
The man and his work feature examples of:
- '50s Hair: His trademark pompadour.
- Adorkable: He gave off this vibe earlier in his career, especially when he wore his Nerd Glasses.
- All Love Is Unrequited: "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me".
- Author Appeal: Ruffians and serial killers.
- Bi the Way: Or Pan The Way? He has stated in 2013 "Unfortunately, I am not homosexual. In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans. But, of course... not many."
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Up to Eleven!
- Bookworm: Was positively this in his youth.
- Celibate Hero: In the '80s. Recently, he tends to just sidestep the issue of his sexuality.
- Covert Pervert
- Deadpan Snarker
- The Eeyore: Happiness notoriously eludes Morrissey.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Straight men seem to be the most likely to jump onstage at concerts to hug or kiss him.
- Gender Is No Object
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: From an interview with The Sunday Times:My best friends have been cats. I had one cat for 23 years and one for 22. They just walked into the house, one when I was a small child and one when I was slightly older. I won't say they were like children, because I don't know any children that were actually nice. They were black-and-white and called Buster and Tibby. Tibby had been kicked in the face so he had to be fed by hand. He couldn't eat from a plate. He required a lot of patience but he cured himself and became a healthy, incredibly happy cat. They certainly enriched my life.
- Last-Name Basis: Credited as simply "Morrissey" since the Smiths' first single. His fans also often call him by the nickname "Moz".
- Last Note Nightmare: "Margaret on the Guillotine" — nice calm music and then, at the end, the title event.
- Long Title: Many, often full sentences — prompting Elvis Costello to remark that he writes good titles, but forgets to write the songs.
- Lyrical Dissonance
- Meganekko: A rare male example when he wears his glasses.
- "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: "Action is My Middle Name".
- New Sound Album: Just about every album.
- Viva Hate: Similar in style to The Smiths' last album, minus, you know, The Smiths.
- Kill Uncle: Jangle pop with torch song influences.
- Your Arsenal: Alternative rock and rockabilly with heavy influence of glam rock.
- Vauxhall and I: Alternative rock with a much mellower sound.
- Southpaw Grammar: Dabbles in progressive rock at times.
- Maladjusted: Straightforward pop rock.
- You Are the Quarry: Similar in style to Vauxhall and I and a bit of Your Arsenal.
- Ringleader of the Tormenters: Similar to You Are the Quarry, but with a more orchestral sound.
- Years of Refusal: Heavy alternative rock, similar to Southpaw Grammar, but with some Spanish/Latin influence thrown in.
- Perspective Flip: Back in the The Smiths, Morrissey wrote "The Headmaster Ritual", which protested the abuses of the British Education System only two years before corporal punishment was criminalised. On Southpaw Grammar, he wrote "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils", which reverses the situation and instead depicts the abuses perpetuated by the students.
- Refrain from Assuming: It's "Suedehead", not "I'm So Sorry". And no, it wasn't recorded by The Smiths.
- Refuge in Audacity: Who else would release a song called "I Have Forgiven Jesus"?
- Nerd Glasses: Wears them sometimes.
- Only One Name: Goes by his surname.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Margaret on the Guillotine against Margaret Thatcher, so blatant that he was interrogated by Scotland Yard, and later moaned about it on "He Knows I'd Love to See Him".
- Self-Deprecation: "Late Night, Maudlin Street" (among others):Me without clothes? / Well a nation turns its back and gags
(from Disappointed) "This is the last song I will ever sing. (crowd cheers) / No, I've changed my mind again. (crowd groans) / Goodnight and thank you."
- In a recent interview he remarked that he might be giving up singing entirely by the end of next year (due to his cancer and the fact that he's simply getting too old): "With luck I will be able to stop singing forever, which would make many people happy!"
- Shirtless Scene: At pretty much every concert.
- Take That!: Often. Better-known targets include Robert Smith, the British royal family, a long-standing target of his rage (a reference to the Queen first appearing on Meat Is Murder back in 1985), Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, and Jamie Oliver.
- Morrissey spends much of his Autobiography delivering back-handed Take Thats to his musical peers (Siouxsie Sioux), artists that he'd previously indicated as influences (David Bowie, Sandie Shaw) and former bandmates. Among the few that are spared harsh treatment are his longtime friend Chrissie Hynde, Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson and his late producer Jerry Finn. Moz writes that he was deeply affected by Finn's death at the young age of 39, shortly after work was finished on Years of Refusal.
- Three Minutes of Writhing: The video for "November Spawned a Monster".