The Smiths were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1982. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce, are regarded as one of the most important to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s.
The Smiths were signed to the independent label Rough Trade Records. Based on the songwriting partnership of Morrissey and Marr, the Smiths' focus on a guitar, bass and drum sound, and fusion of 1960s rock and post-punk, were a rejection of the synth-pop sound that was predominant at the time. Marr's Rickenbacker guitar work was reminiscent of the jangle pop sound of Roger McGuinn from the Byrds. Morrissey's complex, literate lyrics combined themes of ordinary lives with mordant humour.
Several Smiths singles reached the top 20 of the UK Singles Chart and all their studio albums reached the top five of the UK Albums Chart, including the number-one album Meat Is Murder (1985). They achieved mainstream success in Europe with The Queen Is Dead (1986) and Strangeways, Here We Come (1987), both of which entered the top 20 of the European Albums Chart. Internal tensions led to their breakup in 1987, followed by lawsuits over royalties; the band have refused offers to reunite. Their live album Rank (1988) reached the top 10 in Europe.