Affectionately known as the ‘Alan Bennett of pop’ or less lovingly as ‘the Pope of Mope’, Morrissey is one of the foremost singer-songwriters of his generation.
Born in Manchester in 1959, Morrissey has fashioned music from misery since childhood.
Together with guitarist Johnny Marr, he formed The Smiths, named recently as the band with the most influence on the NME in the course of its 50 years as a title. After an acrimonious split, Morrissey continued to mine England’s cultural landscape, persuading Terry Venables to become the face of his musical creation, Dagenham Dave, and producing ten solo albums.
After three decades in the business, Morrissey remains the ultimate rock outsider, infamous for his overt stance as an animal rights activist and his feuds with the music industry and political leaders.
Morrissey’s romantic presentation of Englishness turned sour when he draped himself in a Union Jack flag during a concert in Finsbury Park in 1992. The press accused him of racism and xenophobia but, in fact, Morrissey was again showing his foresight - a few years later the flag was reclaimed by Britpop and The Spice Girls.
With his NHS glasses, fifties quiff, hearing aid and cardi, Morrissey was the original purveyor of geek chic. Thanks to Morrissey, being both miserable and vegetarian became cool. His sardonic wit and nostalgic lyrics have inspired a generation of songwriters from Noel Gallagher to Pete Doherty.