The Smiths were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1982. The band consisted of vocalist Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce. Critics have called them the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s. The band's focus on a guitar, bass, and drum sound, and their fusion of 1960s rock and post-punk, were a repudiation of synthesizer-based contemporary dance-pop – the style popular in the early 1980s. Marr's guitar-playing on his Rickenbacker often had a jangly sound reminiscent of Roger McGuinn of the Byrds and influenced later Manchester bands, including the Stone Roses and Oasis. Morrissey and Marr's songs combined themes about ordinary people with complex, literate lyrics delivered by Morrissey with a mordant sense of humour.
The Smiths had several singles reach the UK top twenty and all four of their studio albums reached the UK top five, including one which topped the charts. They won a significant following and remain cult favourites, although they had limited commercial success outside the UK while they were still together. The band broke up in 1987 and have turned down several offers to reunite. In 2014 and 2015, they were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Morrissey and Johnny Marr dictated the musical direction of the Smiths. Marr said in 1990 that it "was a 50/50 thing between Morrissey and me. We were completely in sync about which way we should go for each record". The band's "non-rhythm-and-blues, whiter-than-white fusion of 1960s rock and post-punk was a repudiation of contemporary dance pop" – the style popular in the early 1980s. The band purposely rejected synthesisers and dance music. They sometimes used Sergei Prokofiev's Montagues and Capulets as entrance music at live shows.