Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
May 22, 1959 in Manchester in England) dropped his forenames to become Morrissey, the lead singer of the seminal UK 'indie' band, The Smiths. When the band broke up in 1987, Morrissey developed a successful solo career and is one of only a few artists to have had UK top ten singles in three separate decades.
The Smiths are viewed by many as one of the most influential bands of the 1980s post-punk era. Morrissey's ambiguous sexuality, provocative iconoclasm, and lyrical compositions blended with guitarist Johnny Marr's highly melodic songwriting to sell many recordings. The band became a success in the UK, Ireland, and Australia and became a cult obsession in the United States of America, doing quite well on college radio charts with songs such as "How Soon Is Now?", and "Panic."
The band broke up due to conflict between Morrissey and Marr, after a productive period from 1985 to 1987 when they released several successful albums: Meat Is Murder, Strangeways, Here We Come, and the hit The Queen is Dead (a regular member of "Best Albums of All Time" lists and easily one of the most influential of the 1980s).
Morrissey's work, both solo and with the Smiths, has been well regarded within England's artistic community and within the artistic establishment of England, even though he now lives in Los Angeles.
Morrissey's subsequent career has also provided successful albums and in 1994 he achieved his highest ever chart position with Vauxhall and I (1994) and its single "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get." After producing several albums in the early years of his solo career with a production outfit not unlike his collaboration with Marr, Morrissey moved on from the songwriting services of Stephen Street for Viva Hate (1988) and Bona Drag (1990) and Mark Nevin for Kill Uncle (1991). The band he assembled for 1992's hit album Your Arsenal sharply renewed his sound and sales success with a fresh, American rockabilly sound. Composition duties were split between guitarists Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte, who have been the core of Morrissey's band ever since.
Reputed to be uninterested in compromise or record company marketing principles, Morrissey has long suffered the consequences of operating as a quasi-outsider in the music industry. Though his large and loyal fan base follow his every move, his albums since 1996 had great trouble reaching a wider audience. Between 1999 and 2003, Morrissey was unable to find a record contract at all (at least one that satisfied his demands).
Accusations of racism meant he spent much of the 1990s maligned, based upon songs such as Bengali In Platforms and National Front Disco as well as an ill-advised performance at the first Madness re-union show at Finsbury Park, London draped in the Union Flag.
Morrissey vacated his English home for Los Angeles in the late-1990s and found an entirely new life in the American West, where, to his own amazement, he has connected with the Hispanic community, where there is now a big fan base. Morrissey's songs of alienation and isolation have appeared to translate lock, stock and barrel from the streets of Manchester to the barrios of LA, something that he himself has expressed surprise and gratitude about.
Morrissey's latest, titled You Are the Quarry was released on May 17, 2004 (but one day later in the US). Guitarist Alain Whyte described the work as a mix between Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I, and the album has received strong reviews. The first single, "Irish Blood, English Heart" debuted on KROQ on March 22, 2004 and was released internationally on May 10, 2004. The single reached No.3 in its first week of sales in the UK Official Charts. This is the highest placing chart position for Morrissey in his entire career as both a solo artist and the lead singer of The Smiths.
At a Dublin concert on June 5 2004, Morrissey caused global controversy by announcing the death of former US President, Ronald Reagan; then exclaiming he would have preferred it if George W. Bush had died. 
With the release of I Have Forgiven Jesus in December 2004, Morrissey became the only artist to score 4 top 10 hits in the UK singles chart that year. 
- In a 1997 interview to support the release of "Alma Matters", the lead single from Maladjusted, Morrissey cited "Shoplifters of the World Unite" as his favourite Smiths song. The song is seen by many as a rebuke of Section 28.
- In June 2004 the British newspaper The Observer asked Morrissey what his top ten favourite British albums were. He responded he could only think of one great British album: For Your Pleasure by Roxy Music.
- J. K. Rowling, Bono, Noel Gallagher, Harry Hill, Craig Kilborn, Thom Yorke, Jonathan Ross, Douglas Coupland and Kathy Burke have all publicly stated they admire Morrissey's work. The title of Coupland's book, "Girlfriend in a Coma", is also the title of a Smiths song, and several references to Smiths lyrics are scattered through the book.
- In Los Angeles, Morrisseywho is known to many fans by the nickname "Moz"has found a large Latino audience. This new and rather unexpected fan base has even led to a new nickname for L.A.: Moz Angeles.
- In October 2004, Morrissey released a politically charged statement urging American voters to vote against George W. Bush for President. Morrissey's statement was "With all my heart I urge people to vote against George Bush. Jon Stewart would be ideal, but John Kerry is the logical and sane move. It does not need to be said yet again, but Bush has single-handedly turned the United States into the most neurotic and terror-obsessed country on the planet. For non-Americans, the United States is suddenly not a very nice place to visit because US immigration officers under the rules of Bush now conduct themselves with all the charm and unanswerable indignation of Hitlers SS. Please bring sanity and intelligence back to the United States. Dont forget to vote. Vote for John Kerry and get rid of George Bush!" 
- Morrissey apparently is involved in a long-standing feud with The Cure lead singer/guitarist Robert Smith.
- Morrissey is noted for using and liking the Southam Street work of photographer Roger Mayne.
- Morrissey is a long-time ethical vegetarian and an advocate for animal rights
- One of his chief sources of inspiration was the play "A Taste of Honey" by Shelagh Delaney (later turned into a movie), from which he borrowed many lines to use in his songs.
- Morrissey was rumored to be romantically linked to Billy Mackenzie of The Associates in the early 1980s. Mackenzie is rumored to be the subject of The Smiths' hit song "William, It Was Really Nothing", and the rumor is furthered by The Associates' response song "Stephen, You Were Really Something".
For his albums and singles releases with The Smiths, see this page.
- Viva Hate Mar 1988
- Bona Drag Nov 1990
- Kill Uncle Mar 1991
- At KROQ Sep 1991 (EP)
- Your Arsenal Jul 1992
- Beethoven was Deaf May 1993
- Vauxhall and I Mar 1994
- World of Morrissey Feb 1995
- Southpaw Grammar Sep 1995
- Maladjusted Aug 1997
- Sep 1997
- Rare Tracks Apr 1998
- My Early Burglary Years Sep 1998
- The Best of Morrissey Nov 2001
- You Are the Quarry May 2004 (a Deluxe edition was released in October 2004)
- Live at Earls Court March 2005
UK singles with chart positions
- 1988 "Suedehead" #5
- 1988 "Everyday is Like Sunday" #9
- 1989 "Last of the Famous International Playboys" #6
- 1989 "Interesting Drug" #9
- 1989 "Ouija Board Ouija Board" #18
- 1990 "November Spawned a Monster" #12
- 1990 "Piccadilly Palare" #18
- 1991 "Our Frank" #26
- 1991 "Sing Your Life" #33
- 1991 "Pregnant for the Last Time" #25
- 1991 "My Love Life" #29
- 1992 "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful" #17
- 1992 "You're the One for Me, Fatty" #19
- 1992 "Certain People I Know" #35
- 1994 "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" #8 (#46 US)
- 1994 "Hold on to Your Friends" #47
- 1994 "Interlude" (with Siouxsie) #25
- 1995 "Boxers" #23
- 1995 "Dagenham Dave" #26
- 1995 "The Boy Racer" #36
- 1995 "Sunny" #42
- 1997 "Alma Matters" #16
- 1997 "Roy's Keen" #42
- 1998 "Satan Rejected My Soul" #39
- 2004 "Irish Blood, English Heart" #3
- 2004 "First of the Gang to Die" #6
- 2004 "Let Me Kiss You" #8
- 2004 "I Have Forgiven Jesus" #10
- 2005 "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" / "Redondo Beach" #11
- Hulmerist (1990)
- Live in Dallas (1992)
- The Malady Lingers On (1992)
- !Oye Estaban! (2000)
- Who Put the M in Manchester? (2005)
- The New York Dolls (Babylon Books; 1981, 19952 ISBN 0-907188-50-8)
- James Dean Is Not Dead (Babylon Books; 1983, 19842, 19973 ISBN 0-907188-06-0)
- Exit Smiling (Babylon Books; 1998 [written in 1980, discusses a number of Morrissey's favourite, obscure B-movie actors] ISBN 0-907188-47-8)
- Morrissey's official website
- YouAreTheQuarry.net (official UK site about Morrissey and his latest album)
- Morrissey-solo (popular fansite with news and gossip)
- It May All End Tomorrow (lyrics, FAQs, interviews, etc.)
- Passions Just Like Mine (the ultimate Smiths and Morrissey discographies)
- The Alain Whyte Syte (site of Morrissey guitarist Alain Whyte)
- The Boz Boorer Site (site of Morrissey guitarist Boz Boorer)
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