The Smiths were an English alternative rock band, formed in Manchester in 1982. Based on the song writing partnership of Morrissey (vocals) and Johnny Marr (guitar), the band also included Andy Rourke (bass) and Mike Joyce (drums). Critics have called them the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s. The group was signed to the independent record label Rough Trade Records, for whom they released four studio albums and several compilations, as well as numerous non-LP singles. Although they had limited commercial success outside the UK while they were still together, and never released a single that charted higher than number 10 in their home country during their existence, The Smiths won a growing following, and remain cult and commercial favourites. The band broke up in 1987 and have turned down several offers to reunite since then.
Throughout the group's existence, Morrissey and Johnny Marr dictated the musical direction of The Smiths. Marr said in 1990, "[I]t was a 50/50 thing between Morrissey and me. We were completely in sync about which way we should go for each record". Encyclopædia Britannica comments that the band's "non-rhythm-and-blues, whiter-than-white fusion of 1960s rock and post-punk was a repudiation of contemporary dance pop" which was popular in the early 1980s. The band's music purposefully rejected synthesisers and dance music.