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The Smiths

The Smiths is an English rock band created in 1982 and separated in 1987. It was a Manchester-based musical quartet founded around Steven Patrick Morrissey (born May 22, 1959), singer and lyricist, and Johnny Marr (born October 31, 1963). Morrissey and Johnny Marr (whose real name was Johnny Maher, whom he changed so as not to be confused with the drummer of the Buzzcocks) met on May 20, 1982 at Morrissey's home in Stretford (384, Kings Road). Marr was looking for a good lyricist, even a singer, for the group he wanted to form and decided to visit Morrissey, whose song lyrics he knew through a friend, Billy Duffy, future guitarist of The Cult and former member of a group of which Morrissey was the singer, The Nosebleeds. Morrissey presented him with some of the texts he had written, including Suffer Little Children, a murky text inspired by the moors' murders. After recording several demos with Simon Wolstencroft (future member of The Fall) on drums, Morrissey and Marr recruited drummer Mike Joyce in the fall of 1982. Joyce had previously been a member of the punk bands The Hoax and Victim. They recruit as bassist Dale Hibbert, who provides the group with the use of the studio where he worked as a recording engineer. In Marr's opinion, neither Hibbert's personality nor his musical style are well suited to the group. The latter was replaced after the group's first concert at the Manchester Ritz on 4 October 1982 by Marr's friend Andy Rourke. The group will be called The Smiths. According to Marr: " We wanted a very normal name... not something that would have sounded like space men or that kind of bullshit ">. Morrissey improvising himself as a singer, the quartet performed for the first time in public. Their first single, Hand in Glove, was released in May 1983 on the independent label Rough Trade. It is followed by This Charming Man, number 25 on the British charts in November 1983, and What Difference Does It Make?, number 12 in January 1984>. In February 1984, their first album, simply called The Smiths, sold 300,000 copies, taking second place in the British charts. Two songs, Reel Around the Fountain and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle are controversial, because some tabloids claim that they evoke paedophilia, a statement vigorously denied by the group. The album was followed the same year by the singles Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (The Smiths' first top-ten hit) and William, It Was Really Nothing, which featured How Soon Is Now? on its B side. The group toured extensively in the United Kingdom but rarely in Europe (the concerts in Paris on May 9, 1984, at the Eldorado, then on December 1>1984 at the Parc des Expositions, Porte de Versailles, are the only French dates in the Smiths' history).

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