Houston Calling

When the world won’t listen, say it with a will

October 20th, 2003 · No Comments

I recently came across an article on Pitchfork that talked about a man leaving The Smiths his fortune in his will. Apparently, ex-Smiths frontman Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr only have to meet for an hour to get the money, which will be theirs if the man’s wife dies before he does.

I was a pretty big fan of The Smiths in high school. Starting in 1985, with the song “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” (for obvious reasons), I fell in love with Morrissey?s haunting voice, biting lyrics, and Marr?s distinctive guitar style. I wasn?t one of the ones sporting “Meat Is Murder” on their foreheads or spray-painting “The World Won?t Listen” on the back of the high school and local grocery store, but I was a fan–and one that was really disappointed when the band split in the late 80’s.

I enjoyed Morrissey?s first solo album, Viva Hate, but kind of moved on after that. I have heard them all, more or less, and have not been inclined to purchase any of them in the past 10 years. But every time I hear a song by The Smiths, I fondly remember the days sitting around with friends, listening to “The Headmaster Ritual” or “The Queen is Dead,” or driving around suburbia to “Frankly Mr. Shankly” or “This Charming Man.”

After reading the article last week, I thought back to my first year of college and how strange it must have been for my roommate to see the words, “If it?s not love, then it’s the bomb that will bring us together” written on my bulletin board. Or how I met friends I still have today solely based on the fact one of them had a full-size poster of Morrissey on his wall in the dorm.

A lot of people never got into The Smiths. Probably because, in my opinion, they couldn’t get past the rapid fans, Morrissey’s whiney voice, or both. Despite what I think about Morrissey or Marr?s solo efforts, I will always be a fan of the music they made together.

I always smile when I see the band’s name on a sticker on someone’s car driving around town these days. And it is good to know that in high school classes across the country there are those who aren’t into DMX or ODB or Ludacris or R. Kelly or Beyonce or Eminem or Korn or Limp Bizkit or Linkin Park or 3 Doors Down or Dave Matthews or Good Charlotte or Sum 41 or 98 Degrees or Brittany Spears or Christina Aguilera or whatever’s being shoveled down the throats of mainstream America via the radio. That there are those who still opt to listen to Echo & The Bunnymen or The Jesus and Mary Chain. Who love The Cure‘s early stuff, not just Disintegration. Who talk about Love & Rockets, Bauhaus, Joy Division, and blocks of ice and piano wire. Who put on Louder Than Bombs and sing along with their friends to every word, trying to match the high-pitched vocals and sounding a fool every time, but never caring.

Those who will undoubtedly cherish their memories of the music of The Smiths as much as I do.

Tags: Music