Based on the songwriting partnership of Morrissey and Marr, the group signed to the independent record label Rough Trade Records, on which they released four studio albums, The Smiths (1984), Meat Is Murder (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986) and Strangeways, Here We Come (1987). They have also released several compilations, and numerous non-LP singles.
The Smiths had several singles reach the UK top twenty and all four of their albums reached the UK top five, including one which topped the charts. They won a significant following and remain cult favourites, although they had limited commercial success outside the UK while they were still together. The band broke up in 1987 and have turned down several offers to reunite.
The band's focus on a guitar, bass, and drum sound and their fusion of 1960s rock and post-punk was a repudiation of synthesiser-based contemporary dance pop - the style popular in the early 1980s. Marr's guitar-playing on his Rickenbacker often had a jangly sound influenced by Roger McGuinn of the Byrds. Marr's guitar-playing influenced later Manchester bands, including the Stone Roses and Oasis. Morrissey's lyrics combined themes about ordinary people with a mordant sense of humour.
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