For The Last Time, World, The Smiths Have Split Up

The Smiths

Internet, I love you, but you’re starting to become irritating on certain topics: The way you encourage people to talk to each other for the first time as if they’ve been bitter enemies for years, for example, or the way you distract hard-working writers with interesting videos and images of family pets until they start to panic about their days work and bash out any old nonsense in a hurry. That’s always a pain.

But for music fans, the most persistently irritating story on the entire web, world-wide, is the rumor that the Smiths are going to get back together, ever. It comes up every few months, and every media outlet gives over a story or two to the details of the original rumor, then another story or two to the flat and bored denials from the respective Morrissey and Marr camps. It happens every time either of the key players has a new record to promote, it happens every time there’s an anniversary of a Smiths album hitting the shops, and it happens every time someone remembers how much they like “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.”

Well, now it’s time to stop. And here’s why.

A) They’re probably not going to get back together. They don’t seem to want to. Morrissey in particular, despite regularly playing Smiths songs in his live shows, has built up years of resentment against Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke for taking him and Johnny to court for unpaid royalties, so even if you could get an agreement from everyone else, you wouldn’t get it from him.

B) Even if they do get back together, it won’t be the Smiths. No matter what Morrissey may claim to the contrary, the Smiths were a four-legged table, or, if you’re not a fan of Mike Joyce’s drumming, a three-legged stool. Take Andy Rourke out, remove those astonishing bass-lines, or even get someone else to play them, and it’s not them. And the only way those four men will appear on stage together is if Morrissey forgives Andy and Mike for suing him, and what do we know about Morrissey and forgiveness? So while Johnny and Morrissey may well play together again, it won’t be the Smiths.

C) The more we report that it is definitely happening, the less likely it is to happen. However if we shush up for a bit, let the heat die down, maybe even suggest that a reformed Smiths might be, what, boring? That’s the time they’ll do it, just to show us all.

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

See more posts by Fraser McAlpine