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Last Updated: Monday, 28 March, 2005, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
The Smiths set for academic study
Stephen Patrick Morrissey
Morrissey has enjoyed an up-and-down solo career
Iconic 1980s indie group The Smiths are to be studied at an academic conference in Manchester, their home town.

The four-piece band, led by famously miserable singer Morrissey, will be analysed by scholars from around the world for two days next week.

The symposium, called Why Pamper Life's Complexities, will aim to assess the band's social, cultural, political and musical impact.

The Smiths are considered one of the most influential bands of the decade.

The academics will reflect on the influence of Morrissey's lyrics on gender and sexuality, race and nationality and the imagination of class.

The band will also be discussed in terms of aesthetics, fan cultures and musical innovation at Manchester Metropolitan University on 8 and 9 April.

Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr now plays with his band The Healers

Event organiser Sean Campbell, senior cultural studies lecturer at Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge, said: "They provoke strong emotions, and are undoubtedly seen as unique, along with people like The Beatles and The Sex Pistols.

"It was obvious when they got up on stage that not just anybody could get up and 'do it', as there was definitely something exceptional and unique about the band that defied analysis and was notoriously difficult to pin down.

"This, amongst other things, is something that we hope to come to grips with at the conference."

Championed by BBC Radio DJ John Peel during their early career, the band built their sound on Morrissey's angst-ridden lyrics and guitarist Johnny Marr's complex compositions.

From 1984 to 1987 they gained both critical praise and commercial success - particularly with the 1986 album The Queen is Dead.

But familiar rock and roll frailties - artistic differences, changing band line-ups, car crashes, drug problems and litigation - resulted in a definitive split in August 1987.

Can Morrissey still cut it live?
15 Jun 04 |  Entertainment
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09 Mar 04 |  Entertainment
The Smiths: The influential alliance
13 May 03 |  Entertainment



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