The Smiths, one of those bands considered by many to be the most influential British group of the 80s. NME went so far as to say they were one of the most “influential artists ever”, and Rolling Stone considered four of their albums in the list of the 500 greatest albums ever made – and they were a band you either loved or hated.
They were one of the first independent bands to achieve mainstream success without sacrificing their own vision, and they came along at a time when music was at a crossroads and spiraling in many different directions.
In my opinion, they were a breath of fresh air, and the vocals of frontman Morrissey were some of the most poignant, real and heartfelt to come along in a very long time. What was appealing about them was they were so damned honest in what they did and every song they did was a well-crafted slice of reality, real emotions and feelings. During a decade where the eternal party was winding down and the reality of life on life’s terms was becoming glowingly apparent, The Smiths provided the soundtrack and echoed the sentiment of a lot of people.
That The Smiths achieved such worldwide appeal speaks to the timeless appeal of their message and to the raw emotion which they so eloquently achieved.
This concert, at the Universal Amphitheatre in Hollywood on August 26, 1986 comes during their tour promoting The Queen Is Dead, which they had just finished. At the time, there was friction within the band which would eventually lead to their dissolution the following year.
But there is no question that, during their tenure, The Smiths left their mark on countless bands coming up after them. It could be said their music spearheaded the wave of bands which included Stone Roses, Oasis, Blur and many others of the late 80s/early 90s.
I think it would be safe to say The Smiths influence is still being felt today, some 30 years later.
Play this one loud – it sounds great.