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      The Smiths

      The Smiths

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      A "cult" band so popular, they arguably defy their own classification, The Smiths have been credited with planting the seeds of indie rock, college rock, and alternative music as a whole. First formed in Manchester, England in 1982, the group came together through the songwriting partnership of singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, who began by recording songs on Marr's TEAC three-track cassette recorder. They eventually brought bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce on board, and shopped a demo to Rough Trade Records. The indie label released the band's first single, "Hand in Glove" in 1983, followed by their self-titled debut album the following year. The band's eclectic but distinct sound soon earned them an underground following, and they returned in 1985 with the more adventurous Meat is Murder, an album that found them incorporating not just newly political and social content into their songs, but also new musical ideas ranging from their existing girl group influences to rockabilly riffs. While listeners were increasingly excited about the band's output, tensions were growing within the group, and by the time they released 1987's Strangeways, Here We Come, they had disbanded. While Morrissey and Marr went on to enjoy successful musical careers each on their own, Rourke and Joyce still had issues to settle with the band, bringing a case against the founding members in 1989 claiming that they had not been informed of the band's financial arrangement, which granted 40% of the band's earnings to Morrissey and Marr respectively, relegating just 10% each to Rourke and Joyce. Rourke settled for a lump sum shortly thereafter, but Joyce took the case further. It was eventually heard by England's High Court of Justice in 1996, where Joyce was granted a million pounds in back royalties and 25% of such earnings going forward. The discord caused by Joyce's suit firmed Morrissey's refusal to ever reform the band.