[(Brian) - another shuffling of an old post. It used to be a "best Smiths ever" post, but all that was still alive was the debut album.]
Seated next to Patti Smith (yesterday) on my shelf, we have one of the most consequential bands of the 1980's here, and I know/knew people who simply despised this bunch, and not a little bit... again, like some others (I cited the Jam recently), so overwhelmingly "British" that some of my fellow yanks couldn't really take them... lots of good stuff here, though, some good albums, especially good singles, and some rare and live stuff there for the taking if one is inclined.
The Smiths were guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke, drummer Mike Joyce, and vocalist Morrisey (no joke, when I was a kid I knew another lad, right here in Ohio, whose name was REALLY Morrissey... why he never took a hatchet to his parents I will never know, but you can imagine how much he loved being compared to the "real" Morrissey once the band got popular)... their sound was a unique rock/pop melding, quite simple actually, and their lyrics were often beyond bizarre, moping stuff which at times could make Joy Division sound like "The Ramones Leave Home".
The debut album (1984) was controversial in that the lyrics to some of the songs, notably "Rally Round the Fountain" as well as "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" seemed to deal with the topic of pedophilia (kind of sounded that way to me as well, you judge for yourself)... this was followed with a string of exceptional singles, most notably "How Soon Is Now" and "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", which for the most part are collected on "Louder Than Bombs", "Hatful of Hollow" is another singles collection from around the same era.
THE SMITHS-01 Reel Around the Fountain/02 You've Got Everything Now/03 Miserable Lie/04 Pretty Girls Make Graves/05 The Hand That Rocks the Cradle/06 This Charming Man/07 Still Ill/08 Hand in Glove/09 What Difference Does It Make?/10 I Don't Owe You Anything/11 Suffer Little Children
(THE ONLY LIVE LINK IS "THE SMITHS")