The Smiths were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1982. The group consisted of vocalist Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce. Critics have called them one of the most important bands to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s. In 2002, the NME named the Smiths "the artist to have had the most influence on the NME". In 2003, all four of their albums appeared on Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".
The Smiths signed to the independent record label Rough Trade Records. They have also released several compilations and non-album singles. Several Smiths singles reached the top 20 of the UK Singles Chart and of their studio albums reached the top five of the UK Albums Chart, including the number-one album Meat Is Murder (1985). They won a significant following and remain cult favourites. The band broke up in 1987 due to internal tensions and have turned down several offers to reunite.Based on the songwriting partnership of Morrissey and Marr, the Smiths' focus on a guitar, bass, and drum sound, and their fusion of 1960s rock and post-punk, were a rejection of the synthesiser-based dance-pop of the time. Marr's Rickenbacker guitar work had a jangle pop sound reminiscent of Roger McGuinn of the Byrds. Morrissey's complex, literate lyrics combined themes about ordinary people with mordant humour.