Morrissey (born 22 May 1959) is an English singer, songwriter and author. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the indie rock band The Smiths, which was active from 1982 to 1987. Since then, Morrissey has had a solo career, making the top ten of the UK Singles Chart on ten occasions.
As a child he developed a love of literature, kitchen sink realism and popular music. Involved in Manchester's punk rock scene during the late 1970s, he fronted two punk bands, The Nosebleeds and Slaughter & The Dogs, with little success. With Johnny Marr he established The Smiths in 1982, soon attracting national recognition for their self-titled debut album. As the band's frontman, Morrissey attracted attention both for his intelligent, witty, and sardonic lyrics and his idiosyncratic appearance; deliberately avoiding rock machismo, he cultivated the aesthetic of a social outsider who eschewed drugs and embraced celibacy.
The Smiths released five further albums – including the critically acclaimed Meat is Murder and The Queen is Dead – and had a string of hit singles. Personal differences between Morrissey and Marr resulted in The Smiths' separation in 1987.
Highly influential, Morrissey is widely credited as being a seminal figure in the emergence of indie rock and Britpop. He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest lyricists in British history, with his lyrics having become the subject of academic study. However, his forthright opinions – endorsing vegetarianism and animal rights, condemning royalty and prominent politicians, and questioning issues of British national and cultural identity – have courted controversy.