Friday, May 15, 2009


singing Suedehead on Later with Jools Holland

Steven Patrick Morrissey (Born 22 May 1959), known primarily as Morrissey, is a British singer-songwriter. After a short stint in the punk rock band The Nosebleeds in the late 1970s, he rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. After the band's breakup in 1987, Morrissey began a solo career, in which he continued the jangle pop sound of The Smiths. Morrissey's solo albums have garnered ten Top 10 singles in the United Kingdom. Music magazine NME has described Morrissey as "one of the most influential artists ever", and The Independent has stated that "most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status that he has reached in his lifetime." Pitchfork Media has called him "one of the most singular figures in Western pop culture from the last 20 years."

Morrissey's sardonic, literate lyrics tend to be "dramatic...bleak, funny vignettes about doomed relationships, lonely nightclubs, the burden of the past and the prison of the home." His "forthright, often contrary opinions" led to a number of media controversies, and he has also attracted media attention from his advocacy of vegetarianism and animal rights.


Steven Patrick Morrissey was born at Park Hospital (now known as Trafford General Hospital) in Davyhulme, Urmston, Lancashire, on 22 May 1959 to Irish Catholic immigrants. His father, Peter Morrissey, was a hospital porter, and his mother, Elizabeth Dwyer, was a librarian. His parents had emigrated to England just before Morrissey's birth and, along with his only sibling (elder sister Jackie), Morrissey was raised in Harper Street in Hulme, Manchester. In 1965, the family moved to Queens Square in Hulme near Moss Side. The family moved to 384 Kings Road in the suburb of Stretford in 1969, when many of the old terraced streets were being demolished. He has maintained a strong attachment to his mother throughout his life. His relationship with his father, however, suffered much strain over the years.

As a child, Morrissey developed a number of interests and role models that marked him out among his peers, including '60s girl groups, and female singers such as Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, Marianne Faithfull and Timi Yuro. He was also interested in the "kitchen sink"-style social realism of late 1950s and early 1960s television plays, Coronation Street's Elsie Tanner, actor James Dean, as well as authors Oscar Wilde and Shelagh Delaney. The Moors Murders of the early 1960s, in which a couple raped and killed a number of Manchester-area children and teens, had a large impact on him as a child.

In adolescence, Morrissey's athletic ability saved him to a large degree from bullying. Nevertheless, he has described this period as a time when he was often lonely and depressed. As a teenager, he began taking prescription drugs to help combat the depression that would later follow him throughout his life. He attended St Mary's Secondary Modern School and Stretford Technical School, where he passed three O levels, including English Literature. He then worked briefly for the Inland Revenue, but ultimately decided to "go on the dole".

Of his youth, Morrissey said, "Pop music was all I ever had, and it was completely entwined with the image of the pop star. I remember feeling that the person singing was actually with me and understood me and my predicament." As of 1974, he regularly wrote letters to music magazines such as Melody Maker and the NME, giving his forthright opinions on various bands. Morrissey would sometimes venture out to see bands at local Manchester venues; the first such occasion being T.Rex at Belle Vue in 1972. He was taken there by his father, fearing for his safety in the notoriously rough district. Morrissey has described the occasion as "messianic and complete chaos".


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