Born in 1959, Steven Patrick Morrissey -- better known simply as Morrissey -- was born to a working-class family in Davyhulme, Lancashire. Prior to becoming a pioneering figure in the genre of indie-rock, Morrissey dabbled in music journalism. Following the breakup of early bands, the singer-songwriter wrote for a British music review outlet while also drafting a few short books.
In 1982, Morrissey was approached by guitarist Johnny Marr, who proposed to the then-writer the idea of forming another group. Seeing a similar sense of motivation in Marr, Morrissey agreed, and the early stages of what would become The Smiths were forming. Joined alongside bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce, the band began releasing singles met with little success and more controversy.
After charting on the UK Singles Chart with “This Charming Man" and "What Difference Does It Make?," the Morrissey-led group released their self-titled debut in 1984. This project gained traction and reached No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and ushered in an era of prosperity for the group.
Morrissey stood as an outlier compared to contemporaries in the genre of rock; his reserved and pessimistic approach to music caught the attention of critics. The band gained a political connotation thanks in part to Morrissey’s lyrics pertaining to then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Following their self-titled project, The Smiths would go on to release three more albums in the span of three years. This period of time saw success and decay for the group, as its second album, Meat Is Murder (1985), topped the UK charts. The Queen Is Dead (1986), their third effort, received critical acclaim and remains one of the most prominent records of the 1980s and beyond. The band then signed with the record label EMI in 1986. At this point, The Smiths were beginning to fray. Issues with drug use within the group and burnout became prominent, leading to Strangeways, Here We Come (1987) being the band’s final effort.
The end of The Smiths didn’t stop Morrissey from continuing a career in music. A year after the group’s last album, the frontman released his solo debut Viva Hate (1988), which earned the artist a No. 1 spot on the UK Albums Chart. His three subsequent projects all followed the same trajectory of success, with each landing within the top 10 in the UK. Vauxhall and I (1994) netted Morrissey another No. 1 album.
In 1995, Morrissey would sign with RCA Records following the end of his contract with EMI. He would release Southpaw Grammar (1995) before joining Island Records to drop Maladjusted (1997). Morrissey then took a break from music, moving to Los Angeles in 1998 and not working on any projects until 2003. He came back and released his seventh studio album, You Are The Quarry (2004), which saw success in both the UK and US, charting at No. 2 for the former and No. 11 for the latter in their respective album charts. He would go on to release six more projects over a 16-year span, with his latest effort being 2020’s I Am Not a Dog on a Chain. This time frame also saw a return to Morrissey’s writing roots, as he published his first novel, List of the Lost, in 2015 under Penguin Books.