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As one of the most important bands of the '80s, The Smiths made music that relied on a delicate balance of the twisted egoisms of vocalist Morrissey and the sublime jangle of guitarist Johnny Marr, all powered by a rhythm section that was far more muscular than the group's pop credentials would suggest. This official live album of the band’s October 1986 performance at London's National Ballroom shows the band almost in hard rock mode, as Morrissey sings nearly breathlessly and the band pumps it up with relentless force. Considering The Smiths' large catalog of worthy tunes–written in a furious four-year rush–it’s inevitable that something is missing for everyone, and the inclusion of Marr’s obscure “The Draize Train” seems odd. However, there’s no denying the epic power of “The Queen Is Dead,” the pure concert-hall glee of “Panic,” the T. Rex swagger of “Is It Really So Strange” and the feeling of solidarity surrounding Morrissey for “Still Ill.”

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Biography

Formed: 1982 in Manchester, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s

The Smiths were the definitive British indie rock band of the '80s, marking the end of synth-driven new wave and the beginning of the guitar rock that dominated English rock into the '90s. Sonically, the group was indebted to the British Invasion, crafting ringing, melodic three-minute pop singles, even for their album tracks. But their scope was far broader than that of a revivalist band. The group's core members, vocalist Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, were obsessive rock fans inspired by...
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Top Albums and Songs by The Smiths