Morrissey

(Redirected from Steven Morrissey)
For other uses, see Morrissey (disambiguation).
Steven Morrissey

Steven Patrick Morrissey, (born May 22, 1959 in Manchester in England) dropped his forenames to become Morrissey, the lead singer of the seminal UK 'indie' band, The Smiths. When the band broke up in 1987, Morrissey developed a successful solo career and is one of only a few artists to have had UK top ten singles in three separate decades.

Overview

The Smiths are viewed by many as one of the most influential bands of the 1980s post-punk era. Morrissey's ambiguous sexuality, provocative iconoclasm, and lyrical compositions blended with guitarist Johnny Marr's highly melodic songwriting to sell many recordings. The band became a success in the UK, Ireland, and Australia and became a cult obsession in the United States of America, doing quite well on college radio charts with songs such as How Soon Is Now?, and Panic.

The band broke up due to conflict between Morrissey and Marr, after a productive period from 1985 to 1987 when they released several successful albums: Meat Is Murder, Strangeways, Here We Come, and the hit The Queen is Dead (a regular member of "Best Albums of All Time" lists and easily one of the most influential of the 1980s).

Morrissey's work, both solo and with the Smiths, has been well regarded within England's artistic community and within the artistic establishment of England,even though he now lives in Los Angeles.

Morrissey's subsequent career has also provided successful albums and in 1994 he achieved his highest ever chart position with Vauxhall and I (1994) and its single "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get". After producing several albums in the early years of his solo career with a production outfit not unlike his collaboration with Marr, Morrissey moved on from the songwriting services of Stephen Street for Viva Hate (1988) and Bona Drag (1990) and Mark Nevin for Kill Uncle (1991). The band he assembled for 1992's hit album Your Arsenal sharply renewed his sound and sales success with a fresh, American rockabilly sound. Composition duties were split between guitarists Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte, who have been the core of Morrissey's band ever since.

Reputed to be uninterested in compromise or record company marketing principles, Morrissey has long suffered the consequences of operating as a quasi-outsider in the music industry. Though his large and loyal fan base follow his every move, his albums since 1996 had great trouble reaching a wider audience. Between 1999 and 2003, Morrissey was unable to find a record contract at all (at least one that satisfied his demands).

Accusations of racism meant he spent much of the 1990s maligned, based upon songs such as "Bengali In Platforms" and "National Front Disco" as well as an ill-advised performance at the first Madness re-union show at Finsbury Park, London draped in the Union Flag.

Morrissey vacated his English home for Los Angeles in the late-1990s and found an entirely new life in the American West, where, to his own amazement, he has connected with the Hispanic community, where there is now a big fan base. Morrissey's songs of alienation and isolation have appeared to translate lock, stock and barrel from the streets of Manchester to the barrios of LA, something that he himself has expressed surprise and gratitude about.

Morrissey on the cover of his 2004 album You Are The Quarry.

In June, 2003 Sanctuary Records group announced a deal with Morrissey. He was given the one-time reggae label Attack Records as a platform to record new material and, reportedly, to sign new artists.

Morrissey's latest, titled You Are the Quarry was released on May 17, 2004 (but one day later in the US). Guitarist Alain Whyte described the work as a mix between Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I, and the album has received strong reviews. The first single, "Irish Blood, English Heart" debuted on KROQ on March 22, 2004 and was released internationally on May 10, 2004. The single reached No.3 in its first week of sales in the UK Official Charts. This is the highest placing chart position for Morrissey in his entire career as both a solo artist and the lead singer of The Smiths.

At a Dublin concert on June 5 2004, Morrissey caused global controversy by announcing the death of former US President, Ronald Reagan; then exclaiming he would have preferred it if George W. Bush had died. [1] (http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/s/119/119298_morrissey_comments_spark_bush_fire.html)

With the release of 'I Have Forgiven Jesus' in December 2004, Morrissey became the only artist to score 4 top 10 hits in the UK singles chart that year. [2] (http://www.sanctuaryrecordsgroup.co.uk/News/news.asp?id=675&action=more)

Miscellaneous

  • In a 1997 interview to support the release of "Alma Matters", the lead single from Maladjusted, Morrissey cited "Shoplifters of the World Unite" as his favourite Smiths song. The song is seen by many as a rebuke of Section 28.
  • In June 2004 the British newspaper The Observer asked Morrissey what his top ten favourite British albums were. He responded he could only think of one great British album: For Your Pleasure by Roxy Music.
  • J. K. Rowling, Bono, Noel Gallagher, Harry Hill, Craig Kilborn, Thom Yorke, Jonathan Ross, Douglas Coupland and Kathy Burke have all publicly stated they admire Morrissey's work. The title of Coupland's book, "Girlfriend in a Coma", is also the title of a Smiths song, and several references to Smiths lyrics are scattered through the book.
  • In Los Angeles, Morrissey–who is known to many fans by the nickname "Moz"–has found a large Latino audience. This new and rather unexpected fan base has even led to a new nickname for L.A.: Moz Angeles.
  • In October 2004, Morrissey released a politically charged statement urging American voters to vote against George W. Bush for President. Morrissey's statement was "With all my heart I urge people to vote against George Bush. Jon Stewart would be ideal, but John Kerry is the logical and sane move. It does not need to be said yet again, but Bush has single-handedly turned the United States into the most neurotic and terror-obsessed country on the planet. For non-Americans, the United States is suddenly not a very nice place to visit because US immigration officers — under the rules of Bush — now conduct themselves with all the charm and unanswerable indignation of Hitler’s SS. Please bring sanity and intelligence back to the United States. Don’t forget to vote. Vote for John Kerry and get rid of George Bush!" [3] (http://www.morrisseymusic.com/newsitem.asp?id=89)
  • Morrissey apparently is involved in a long-standing feud with The Cure lead singer/guitarist Robert Smith.
  • Morrissey is noted for using and liking the Southam Street work of photographer Roger Mayne.
  • Morrissey is a long-time ethical vegetarian and an advocate for animal rights

Discography

For his albums and singles releases with The Smiths, see this page.

Albums

  • Viva Hate — Mar 1988
  • Bona Drag — Nov 1990
  • Kill Uncle — Mar 1991
  • At KROQ — Sep 1991 (EP)
  • Your Arsenal — Jul 1992
  • Beethoven was Deaf — May 1993
  • Vauxhall and I — Mar 1994
  • World of Morrissey — Feb 1995
  • Southpaw Grammar — Sep 1995
  • Maladjusted — Aug 1997
  • Suedehead: The Best of Morrissey — Sep 1997
  • Rare Tracks — Apr 1998
  • My Early Burglary Years — Sep 1998
  • The Best of Morrissey — Nov 2001
  • You Are the Quarry — May 2004 (a Deluxe edition was released in October 2004)
  • Live at Earls Court — March 2005

UK singles with chart positions

  • 1988 "Suedehead" #5
  • 1988 "Everyday is Like Sunday" #9
  • 1989 "Last of the Famous International Playboys" #6
  • 1989 "Interesting Drug" #9
  • 1989 "Ouija Board Ouija Board" #18
  • 1990 "November Spawned a Monster" #12
  • 1990 "Piccadilly Palare" #18
  • 1991 "Our Frank" #26
  • 1991 "Sing Your Life" #33
  • 1991 "Pregnant for the Last Time" #25
  • 1991 "My Love Life" #29
  • 1992 "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful" #17
  • 1992 "You're the One for Me, Fatty" #19
  • 1992 "Certain People I Know" #35
  • 1994 "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" #8 (#46 US)
  • 1994 "Hold on to Your Friends" #47
  • 1994 "Interlude" (with Siouxsie) #25
  • 1995 "Boxers" #23
  • 1995 "Dagenham Dave" #26
  • 1995 "The Boy Racer" #36
  • 1995 "Sunny" #42
  • 1997 "Alma Matters" #16
  • 1997 "Roy's Keen" #42
  • 1998 "Satan Rejected My Soul" #39
  • 2004 "Irish Blood, English Heart" #3
  • 2004 "First of the Gang to Die" #6
  • 2004 "Let Me Kiss You" #8
  • 2004 "I Have Forgiven Jesus" #10
  • 2005 "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" / "Redondo Beach"

"The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" is the only Morrissey single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Several of his releases have charted on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Videos

  • Hulmerist (1990)
  • Live in Dallas (1992)
  • The Malady Lingers On (1992)
  • !Oye Estaban! (2000)
  • Who Put the M in Manchester? (2005)

Bibliography

Before gaining widespread recognition with The Smiths, Morrissey (then still with forename) wrote a number of booklets on his favourite cultural subjects, music and film.

  • The New York Dolls (Babylon Books; 1981, 19952 ISBN 0-907188-50-8)
  • James Dean Is Not Dead (Babylon Books; 1983, 19842, 19973 ISBN 0-907188-06-0)
  • Exit Smiling (Babylon Books; 1998 [written in 1980, discusses a number of Morrissey's favourite, obscure B-movie actors] ISBN 0-907188-47-8)

This page about Steven Morrissey includes information from a Wikipedia article.
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Before gaining widespread recognition with The Smiths, Morrissey (then still with forename) wrote a number of booklets on his favourite cultural subjects, music and film. It was also released on some "Rocafella Records" B-sides and some street "mixtapes" by Eminem's "Shady Records" and other mixtapes made by street DJs. Several of his releases have charted on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. It got out as a single and hit New York radio stations as a big hit. "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" is the only Morrissey single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2003, Puff Daddy gave 50 Cent rights to sample Biggie's verses from "Niggas" (a song from the Born Again album) into a song called "To All My Niggas". For his albums and singles releases with The Smiths, see this page. The video for the song also featured appearances by 98 Degrees and Fat Joe.

[2] (http://www.sanctuaryrecordsgroup.co.uk/News/news.asp?id=675&action=more). Diddy. With the release of 'I Have Forgiven Jesus' in December 2004, Morrissey became the only artist to score 4 top 10 hits in the UK singles chart that year. It featured guest raps from Biggie's friends, Lil Kim and P. Bush had died. [1] (http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/s/119/119298_morrissey_comments_spark_bush_fire.html). It had a hit single called "N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S" (interpolation to the Duran Duran's song of the same name) that wasn't a tribute, but was a "shout out" to the slain rapper. At a Dublin concert on June 5 2004, Morrissey caused global controversy by announcing the death of former US President, Ronald Reagan; then exclaiming he would have preferred it if George W. Puff Daddy released Biggie's third album, Born Again.

This is the highest placing chart position for Morrissey in his entire career as both a solo artist and the lead singer of The Smiths. album. The single reached No.3 in its first week of sales in the UK Official Charts. The year 1999 saw another release of a posthumous Notorious B.I.G. The first single, "Irish Blood, English Heart" debuted on KROQ on March 22, 2004 and was released internationally on May 10, 2004. Biggie's biggest chart hit was with the song "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems," an upbeat number featuring rappers Mase and Puff Daddy, and sampling the disco song "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross for the beat. Guitarist Alain Whyte described the work as a mix between Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I, and the album has received strong reviews. The song sampled the melody of The Police's hit song "Every Breath You Take." All these artists performed the song with (former Police vocalist) Sting during the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.

Morrissey's latest, titled You Are the Quarry was released on May 17, 2004 (but one day later in the US). The song featured Puff Daddy, Wallace's widow Faith Evans and R&B group 112. He was given the one-time reggae label Attack Records as a platform to record new material and, reportedly, to sign new artists. However, the single that carried this album to the top was "I'll Be Missing You", a tribute and a massively successful single dedicated to Biggie. In June, 2003 Sanctuary Records group announced a deal with Morrissey. At the end of 1997, Puff Daddy released his debut album "No Way Out," which featured Biggie on a number of songs, notably in the chorus of the single "Been Around the World" over David Bowie's sample ("Let's Dance!"). Morrissey's songs of alienation and isolation have appeared to translate lock, stock and barrel from the streets of Manchester to the barrios of LA, something that he himself has expressed surprise and gratitude about. The album sold 10 million copies, probably due in part to its timely posthumous release, and it is still the biggest selling hip-hop album of all time.

Morrissey vacated his English home for Los Angeles in the late-1990s and found an entirely new life in the American West, where, to his own amazement, he has connected with the Hispanic community, where there is now a big fan base. It hit number one on the Billboard charts and spawned several hit singles in the United States. Accusations of racism meant he spent much of the 1990s maligned, based upon songs such as "Bengali In Platforms" and "National Front Disco" as well as an ill-advised performance at the first Madness re-union show at Finsbury Park, London draped in the Union Flag. The album was released only two weeks after Biggie's murder. Between 1999 and 2003, Morrissey was unable to find a record contract at all (at least one that satisfied his demands). Life After Death, Biggie's second album, was released posthumously and debuted at #1 on the charts. Though his large and loyal fan base follow his every move, his albums since 1996 had great trouble reaching a wider audience. Additionally, Director Nick Broomfield has released an investigative documentary called 'Biggie and Tupac' which implicates the LAPD and Suge Knight, and the Los Angeles Times ran an article entitled "Who Shot Tupac Shakur?" by reporter Chuck Phillips, which concludes that Biggie Smalls was ultimately behind the Las Vegas shooting of Tupac.

Reputed to be uninterested in compromise or record company marketing principles, Morrissey has long suffered the consequences of operating as a quasi-outsider in the music industry. In his book, LAbyrinth, LAPD officer Randall Sullivan probes the circumstances and figures involved in the shootings. Composition duties were split between guitarists Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte, who have been the core of Morrissey's band ever since. Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight and the Mob Piru Bloods gang with whom he associates are among the prime suspects for involvement. The band he assembled for 1992's hit album Your Arsenal sharply renewed his sound and sales success with a fresh, American rockabilly sound. Neither murder has been conclusively solved, though theories abound as to the motives and identities of the murderers. After producing several albums in the early years of his solo career with a production outfit not unlike his collaboration with Marr, Morrissey moved on from the songwriting services of Stephen Street for Viva Hate (1988) and Bona Drag (1990) and Mark Nevin for Kill Uncle (1991). On March 9, 1997, the horrific events came full circle when Biggie was shot and killed in Los Angeles, where he had been attending the 11th Annual Soul Train Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Center.

Morrissey's subsequent career has also provided successful albums and in 1994 he achieved his highest ever chart position with Vauxhall and I (1994) and its single "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get". Rumors of Biggie's possible involvement in the murder cropped up almost immediately. Morrissey's work, both solo and with the Smiths, has been well regarded within England's artistic community and within the artistic establishment of England,even though he now lives in Los Angeles. The second of these shootings was fatal, taking place in Las Vegas, where Tupac had been watching a boxing match. The band broke up due to conflict between Morrissey and Marr, after a productive period from 1985 to 1987 when they released several successful albums: Meat Is Murder, Strangeways, Here We Come, and the hit The Queen is Dead (a regular member of "Best Albums of All Time" lists and easily one of the most influential of the 1980s). This feud hung over a period of highly publicized rap violence that began with two shootings in which Shakur was the victim. The band became a success in the UK, Ireland, and Australia and became a cult obsession in the United States of America, doing quite well on college radio charts with songs such as How Soon Is Now?, and Panic.. This rivalry existed between Biggie and Death Row rap superstar Tupac Shakur, a New York City native, who relocated to Los Angeles and Death Row Records because of the feud.

Morrissey's ambiguous sexuality, provocative iconoclasm, and lyrical compositions blended with guitarist Johnny Marr's highly melodic songwriting to sell many recordings. Although Ready to Die brought massive fame to Biggie, he is most famed for his somewhat overplayed and ultimately tragic involvement in rap's most famous feud between the East and West Coast scenes. The Smiths are viewed by many as one of the most influential bands of the 1980s post-punk era. "One More Chance," which sampled the R&B song "Stay With Me," was a remix of the song by the same name that originally appeared on Ready to Die.. When the band broke up in 1987, Morrissey developed a successful solo career and is one of only a few artists to have had UK top ten singles in three separate decades. That same year, B.I.G.'s single One More Chance debuted at #5 on the Pop Charts, tying Scream/Childhood as the highest debut single in music history. Steven Patrick Morrissey, (born May 22, 1959 in Manchester in England) dropped his forenames to become Morrissey, the lead singer of the seminal UK 'indie' band, The Smiths. That same year saw the mainstream introduction of Biggie's labelmates Lil' Kim and Lil' Caesar by the rap star.

Exit Smiling (Babylon Books; 1998 [written in 1980, discusses a number of Morrissey's favourite, obscure B-movie actors] ISBN 0-907188-47-8). (Junior Masters At Finding Intelligent Attitudes) released the album Conspiracy. James Dean Is Not Dead (Babylon Books; 1983, 19842, 19973 ISBN 0-907188-06-0). In 1995, Biggie's new group Junior M.A.F.I.A. The New York Dolls (Babylon Books; 1981, 19952 ISBN 0-907188-50-8). The album features one of rap's most famous playa anthems, the song "Big Poppa." Biggie's album drew critical acclaim for its vivid story-telling and razor-sharp lyricism, such as "They don't know about the stress filled day/Baby on the way, mad bills to pay/That's why you drink tanqueray/So you can reminisce and wish/You wasn't living so devilish." The album is considered by many to be one of the best and most hardcore hip-hop albums of all time. Who Put the M in Manchester? (2005). Ready to Die is regarded as one of hip-hop's all-time classic albums.

!Oye Estaban! (2000). Blige on What's the 411?, then released Ready to Die, his debut album, in 1994. The Malady Lingers On (1992). He first gained notice for working with Mary J. Live in Dallas (1992). In his lyrics, Biggie also referred to himself under the alias Frank White (taken from the 1990 movie King of New York starring Christopher Walken). Hulmerist (1990). Christopher Wallace (May 21, 1972 - March 9, 1997), also known as Biggie Smalls (after a stylish gangster in the 1975 comedy, Let's Do it Again), but best known as The Notorious B.I.G. (Business Instead of Game)., was a popular Brooklyn-born rapper of the mid-1990s.

2005 "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" / "Redondo Beach". Born Again (Bad Boy Records, 1999). 2004 "I Have Forgiven Jesus" #10. Life After Death (Bad Boy Records, 1997). 2004 "Let Me Kiss You" #8. Ready to Die (Bad Boy Records, 1995). 2004 "First of the Gang to Die" #6. Download sample of "Niggas Bleed" from Life After Death.

2004 "Irish Blood, English Heart" #3. 1998 "Satan Rejected My Soul" #39. 1997 "Roy's Keen" #42. 1997 "Alma Matters" #16.

1995 "Sunny" #42. 1995 "The Boy Racer" #36. 1995 "Dagenham Dave" #26. 1995 "Boxers" #23.

1994 "Interlude" (with Siouxsie) #25. 1994 "Hold on to Your Friends" #47. 1994 "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" #8 (#46 US). 1992 "Certain People I Know" #35.

1992 "You're the One for Me, Fatty" #19. 1992 "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful" #17. 1991 "My Love Life" #29. 1991 "Pregnant for the Last Time" #25.

1991 "Sing Your Life" #33. 1991 "Our Frank" #26. 1990 "Piccadilly Palare" #18. 1990 "November Spawned a Monster" #12.

1989 "Ouija Board Ouija Board" #18. 1989 "Interesting Drug" #9. 1989 "Last of the Famous International Playboys" #6. 1988 "Everyday is Like Sunday" #9.

1988 "Suedehead" #5. Live at Earls Court — March 2005. You Are the Quarry — May 2004 (a Deluxe edition was released in October 2004). The Best of Morrissey — Nov 2001.

My Early Burglary Years — Sep 1998. Rare Tracks — Apr 1998. Suedehead: The Best of Morrissey — Sep 1997. Maladjusted — Aug 1997.

Southpaw Grammar — Sep 1995. World of Morrissey — Feb 1995. Vauxhall and I — Mar 1994. Beethoven was Deaf — May 1993.

Your Arsenal — Jul 1992. At KROQ — Sep 1991 (EP). Kill Uncle — Mar 1991. Bona Drag — Nov 1990.

Viva Hate — Mar 1988. Morrissey is a long-time ethical vegetarian and an advocate for animal rights. Morrissey is noted for using and liking the Southam Street work of photographer Roger Mayne. Morrissey apparently is involved in a long-standing feud with The Cure lead singer/guitarist Robert Smith.

Vote for John Kerry and get rid of George Bush!" [3] (http://www.morrisseymusic.com/newsitem.asp?id=89). Don’t forget to vote. Please bring sanity and intelligence back to the United States. For non-Americans, the United States is suddenly not a very nice place to visit because US immigration officers — under the rules of Bush — now conduct themselves with all the charm and unanswerable indignation of Hitler’s SS.

It does not need to be said yet again, but Bush has single-handedly turned the United States into the most neurotic and terror-obsessed country on the planet. Jon Stewart would be ideal, but John Kerry is the logical and sane move. Morrissey's statement was "With all my heart I urge people to vote against George Bush. Bush for President.

In October 2004, Morrissey released a politically charged statement urging American voters to vote against George W. This new and rather unexpected fan base has even led to a new nickname for L.A.: Moz Angeles. In Los Angeles, Morrissey–who is known to many fans by the nickname "Moz"–has found a large Latino audience. The title of Coupland's book, "Girlfriend in a Coma", is also the title of a Smiths song, and several references to Smiths lyrics are scattered through the book.

Rowling, Bono, Noel Gallagher, Harry Hill, Craig Kilborn, Thom Yorke, Jonathan Ross, Douglas Coupland and Kathy Burke have all publicly stated they admire Morrissey's work. K. J. He responded he could only think of one great British album: For Your Pleasure by Roxy Music.

In June 2004 the British newspaper The Observer asked Morrissey what his top ten favourite British albums were. The song is seen by many as a rebuke of Section 28. In a 1997 interview to support the release of "Alma Matters", the lead single from Maladjusted, Morrissey cited "Shoplifters of the World Unite" as his favourite Smiths song.

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