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Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet: The Smiths

by Nick Dedina

Cheat Sheet: The Smiths


The Smiths may just be one of the greatest indie rock bands of all time. They've certainly influenced a wealth of artists since their '80s heyday. The proof is in the enduring quality of their songbook and in the legions of new fans they continue to win all over the world. This is a band that can play a mix of 1950s rockabilly, '60s folk-rock, stark post-punk, lush orchestral pop and stately piano ballads. They had a punk rock drummer and a funk bassist, and Morrissey and Johnny Marr were one of the great songwriting partnerships. Marr was riding such a creative peak with The Smiths that he can't even remember what he did to come up with some of the guitar sounds he made. Likewise, Morrissey's game-changing lyrics are thought of as bookish and self-pitying, but they can be full of ribald, street-smart humor, brutal violence and moral complexity. For all the talk of heartache, the lyrics are often biting and witty.

Here, we celebrate their work with a Cheat Sheet featuring new, remastered versions of nearly every record in their catalog.