Steven Patrick Morrissey, born in May 22, 1959 in Manchester, is one of the UK’s most iconic musicians and is widely regarded as one of the finest lyricists and singers of his generation. He is known for his work both as frotnman of seminal Manchester group The Smiths and as a solo artist.
With The Smiths, Morrissey released four studio albums between 1984 and 1987: ‘The Smiths’ (1984), ‘Meat Is Murder’ (1985), ‘The Queen Is Dead’ (1986) and ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’. The band were considered to be one of the greatest alternative groups of the decade but split in 1987 due to creative and personal differences between Morrissey and guitarist and co-songwriter Johnny Marr.
After the demise of The Smiths, Morrissey embarked on a career as a solo artist. His debut LP ‘Viva Hate’ was released in 1988 and debuted at Number One on the UK Albums Chart. Over the following decade he continued to record and release solo albums including ‘Kill Uncle’ (1991), ‘Your Arsenal’ (1992), ‘Vauxhall And I’ (1994), ‘Southpaw Grammar’ (1995) and ‘Maladjusted’ (1997).
From 1998 until 2003, however, Morrissey took a hiatus from recording music; reports during this time suggested that he no longer had a record deal and was also considering retiring from performing altogether. In 2003, he signed a deal with Sanctuary Records after they agreed to let him revive and release material on the defunct reggae label Attack. As a result, he released his comeback album ‘You Are The Quarry’, which was described as an “occasionally spectacular” record and a “triumph of faith over industry cynicism” by NME, and he went onto release another two equally well-received albums: 2007’s ‘Ringleader Of The Tormentors’, recorded with former David Bowie cohort Tony Visconti, and 2009’s ‘Years Of Refusal’.
Despite his successful comeback, Morrissey took another half-decade break from recording and releasing music over the following years. In 2013 he published his memoir, ‘Autobiography’; its release proved to be controversial as some literary commentators felt it was undeserving of the honour of being published as a Penguin Classic – a demand that Morrissey himself had requested. However, the book received largely positive reviews and entered the UK Book Charts at Number One after selling nearly 35,000 copies in its first week of sale.
In 2014, Morrissey announced that he would release his 10th solo album ‘World Peace Is None Of Your Business’: to promote the LP, he appeared in a number of spoken-word promotional videos including one which starred former Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson. The LP, which was released on July 15, has been described as a return-to-form and was given a 9/10 review by NME.
Throughout his career, Morrissey has garnered a great deal of controversy and media attention. Perhaps most famously, he was embroiled in a long-running legal case with The Smiths’ drummer Mike Joyce, who claimed that he had never agreed to receive only 10 per cent of the band’s royalties and argued that he should be given 25 per cent instead. Despite Morrissey’s protestations, the High Court ruled in Royce’s favour and ordered that he be paid over £1 million in back-royalties and that he receive 25 per cent of the band’s royalties in the future. Judge Weeks, who heard the case, described Morrissey as “devious, truculent and unreliable” in his summing up; Morrissey returned the favour by criticising Weeks at length in ‘Autobiography’.
Morrissey is also known for his outspoken views on animal rights and his keen belief in vegetarianism; his criticisms of the Royal Family and the political system; and his ambigious sexuality, which has been the subject of much media debate for years. In ‘Autobiography’, he revealed he had had a two-year relationship with a man, Jake Walters, although he did not discuss any specific details. He later denied their relationship was proof that he was homosexual and issued a statement saying: “Unfortunately, I am not homosexual. In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans. But of course… not many.”
In 2006, Morrissey was voted as the second greatest living Britain by BBC’s The Culture Show. His last album, ‘World Peace Is None Of Your Business’, debuted in the UK Albums Chart at Number Two.