Why did the Smiths break up ?

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Postby bernie brown » Wed Feb 15, 2006 6:54 am

I would like to know why the smiths broke up when they were really flying along after recording such a great album as Strangeways ? Did someone want to move on to other projects ? Were there personality clashes and falling-outs ? Do the members keep in touch ? Is there bad blood between them ? Is it a mystery or what ?
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Postby Boywiththethorninhisside » Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:41 pm

Others can fill in the gaps better than I can, but as I understand it:

Johnny left just as/after "Strangeways Here We Come" was recorded, citing, among other things, the fact that he felt The Smiths had gone as far as he could go with them. He wanted to try different kinds of music, and felt that either The Smiths were not suitable for this, or that he wouldn't want to water down The Smiths reputation by making them do, for want of a better term, "un-Smiths-ish" music.

I believe Johnny was also very stressed out, with the pressure of writing, recording, managing etc. Being the main music writer in a band at the top of their game must have been a terrible burden; much as most of us could only dream of such an opportunity, it is a lot to live up to.

Apparently Johnny and Morrissey weren't all that close as their careers went on anyway - they started off writing together, but after a while they worked separately. This was probably great for Moz, being the self-confessed recluse and literary mind that he was, but for the more outgoing and sociable Marr, all those hours working by himself must have worn him down.

So Johnny left, and great as the other three are, there really couldn't be a Smiths without their music leader, could there?
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Postby elko » Wed Feb 15, 2006 1:40 pm

<!--QuoteBegin-Boywiththethorninhisside+Feb 15 2006, 12:41 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Boywiththethorninhisside @ Feb 15 2006, 12:41 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->So Johnny left, and great as the other three are, there really couldn't be a Smiths without their music leader, could there?<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Not just that, but legally Johnny would have had to agree to it- can't see that he would ever have given permission for them to use the name if he wasn't involved.

I think your post gives the main reasons put across well, but to me if you listen to Strangeways, it's all there for you to here. The Smiths began as a back-to-basics band with a dislike for the mechcanical music being made at the time, yet throughout the last album the outlandish production is virtually the polar opposite of what they began as.
Although Johnny was the man behind this, I'm sure even he could see that it wasn't going to hold together much longer. If it's possible to consider his work with Electronic as at all representative of the songs he would have been writing if still a Smith, then I think the breakup happened at the right time. It's quite probably that Johnny Marr was smart enough to realise this.
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Postby Chorlton_Ruffian » Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:28 pm

It was the breakdown in the Morrissey-Marr relationship that did them in.

Moz was annoyed that Marr had taken time out to record with other artists, and Marr was annoyed that Moz insisted on covering old 60s songs and generally being reluctant to significantly change their musical stance.
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Postby bernie brown » Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:17 am

Thanks for those insights everyone. I guess "for everything there is a season"....
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Postby mad_fer_it » Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:55 pm

Yeah good topic, I didn't know the reasons so glad it's all been cleared up.
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Postby Xuu » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:35 am

despite the personal difficulties between Morrissey and Marr, the thing intrigued me is that we don't see Marr's brilliant solo career, my guess is that he ran out of ideas...for Strangeways, i can see that they were attempting new sounds, but not really successful...(think about dreadful songs such as "Death Of Disco Dancer" and "Death At One's Elbow")...so Marr left the band in order to protect the Smiths' reputation, they broke up when they were still good...something like that...
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Postby Holly Golightly » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:38 am

'Death Of a Disco Dancer' is a great song.
Last edited by Holly Golightly on Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Xuu » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:44 am

can't you say something longer than that? tell me why you think it's great.

it's not that bad, it's just a let-down...first the song is a little long for me...it sounds hollow... and what's that irritating noise at the beginning of the song?
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Postby Holly Golightly » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:58 am

Well, I like the lyrics, the bass line is pretty catchy and Joyce rocks at the end of the song.
The 'irritating noise' at the beginning of the song is Marr playing with his plectrum, rubbing it against the sixth (I guess) string.
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Postby Qvist » Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:28 pm

Funny, I always thought that in many ways Strangeways already sounds like a prelude to Morrissey's solo stuff, as does some of the more "heavy-feeted" late singles, such as "Sheila take a bow" and "Shoplifters of the world unite". So, I always sort of assumed that what happened late in the band's career was rather that Morrissey was taking the band in a direction that did not suit Marr.

I think Marr's solo career is a fairly sad chapter. True, The The released two glorious albums with him in the lineup ("Mind Bomb" and "Dusk"), but Marr seemed oddly anonymous there, not really making his mark on the band at all - The The remained very much the band they had been on "Infected", unmistakably Matt Johnson's creation. The glaring exception is of course "The beaten generation", who is not only pure Marr in its sound, but also in its basic melody structure. It would not have been out of place on any Smiths album in my opinion.

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Postby stanyewest » Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:58 pm

I think Strangeways was released post-humously of the career of The Smiths.

As was Rank.

Erm due to various court cases and wranglings The Smiths don't get on too great though I think Marr is generally well liked by Moz, Rourke and Joyce.
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Postby elko » Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:33 pm

Qvist wrote:Funny, I always thought that in many ways Strangeways already sounds like a prelude to Morrissey's solo stuff, as does some of the more "heavy-feeted" late singles, such as "Sheila take a bow" and "Shoplifters of the world unite". So, I always sort of assumed that what happened late in the band's career was rather that Morrissey was taking the band in a direction that did not suit Marr.

I think Marr's solo career is a fairly sad chapter. True, The The released two glorious albums with him in the lineup ("Mind Bomb" and "Dusk"), but Marr seemed oddly anonymous there, not really making his mark on the band at all - The The remained very much the band they had been on "Infected", unmistakably Matt Johnson's creation. The glaring exception is of course "The beaten generation", who is not only pure Marr in its sound, but also in its basic melody structure. It would not have been out of place on any Smiths album in my opinion.

cheers

Pretty much spot on I think, except I think that the glam-ish sound of the later singles was just as much Marr's work, after all, he wrote the music, and that is primarily what gives it that feel. The only difference in Morrissey's lyrics is that they got steadily more trivial.
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Postby chicken » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:53 pm

elko wrote:Pretty much spot on I think, except I think that the glam-ish sound of the later singles was just as much Marr's work, after all, he wrote the music, and that is primarily what gives it that feel. The only difference in Morrissey's lyrics is that they got steadily more trivial.

i often wonder how that would be, to find oneself not to continue with something beautiful and disintegrating at the same time. sad.
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Postby HandsomeDevil » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:43 am

Morrissey and Marr - speaking terms
Morrissey and Rourke - not speaking
Morrissey and Joyce - Hate

Marr and Rourke - friends
Marr and Joyce - not speaking

Rourke and Joyce - not speaking
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