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, NME named the Smiths "the artists to have had the most influence on the NME". In 2003, four of the band's albums appeared on Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".
Based on the songwriting partnership of Morrissey and Marr, the group signed to the independent record label Rough Trade Records, on which they released four studio albums. They have also released several compilations and numerous non-album singles. They had several singles reach the top twenty of the UK Singles Chart and all four of their studio albums reached the top five of the UK Albums Chart, including Meat Is Murder which hit number one. 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.The band's focus on a guitar, bass, and drum sound and their fusion of 1960s rock and post-punk, were a rejection of the then-popular, synthesiser-based dance-pop. Marr's guitar work, using a Rickenbacker, 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.