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He came to prominence as the frontman of the rock band the Smiths , which was active from to Since then, he has pursued a successful solo career. Morrissey's music is characterised by his baritone voice and distinctive lyrics with recurring themes of emotional isolation, sexual longing, self-deprecating and black humour, and anti-establishment stances. Born to working-class Irish immigrants in Davyhulme, Lancashire , Morrissey grew up in nearby Manchester. As a child, he developed a love of literature, kitchen sink realism , and pop music. In the late s, he fronted punk rock band the Nosebleeds with little success before beginning a career in music journalism and writing several books on music and film in the early s. He formed the Smiths with Johnny Marr in and the band soon attracted national recognition for their eponymous debut album. As the band's frontman, Morrissey attracted attention for his trademark quiff and witty and sardonic lyrics. Deliberately avoiding rock machismo, he cultivated the image of a sexually ambiguous social outsider who embraced celibacy. The band were critically acclaimed and attracted a cult following.
As pariah status beckons for Morrissey, Ed Power looks back on the downfall of one of the most important bands of the Eighties. T he Smiths were supposed to be the band who saved all the drama for their music. Yet their great, month unravelling was a true Grand Guignol epic, sloshing with vitriol, tears, tragic misunderstandings and Moz throwing a hissy fit on a revolving stage in Italy. All of that and a great record, too. The group has, after all, cast a shadow over everything he has done in the past 33 years. The obvious reason for looking back is that for the Morrissey of today, there is a sense of looming finality.
Once his songs of loneliness and shyness made him a hero to misfits and outsiders. Yet now he is voicing his support for a far-right party. I t was once a hearing aid, or a swinging bunch of gladioli. These days, however, Morrissey prefers a different kind of onstage provocation.