The Smiths were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1982. Based on the songwriting partnership of Morrissey (vocals) and Johnny Marr (guitar), the band also included Andy Rourke (bass) and Mike Joyce (drums).
Critics have called them the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s, and the group has had a major influence on subsequent artists. Morrissey's lovelorn tales of alienation found an audience amongst youth culture bored by the ubiquitous synthesizer-pop bands of the early 1980s, while Marr's complex melodies helped return guitar-based music to popularity in Britain.
The group were signed to the independent record label Rough Trade Records, for whom they released four studio albums and several compilations, as well as numerous non-LP singles. Although they had limited commercial success outside the UK while they were still together, and never released a single that charted higher than number 10 in their home country, The Smiths won a growing following, and remain cult and commercial favourites.
The band broke up in 1987 amid disagreements between Morrissey and Marr and have turned down several offers to reform since then.