Morrissey, who made a series of seminal albums with The Smiths as the bands lead singer and lyricist as well as several solo artists, has agreed a publishing deal with Penguin books
and will be one of several music-linked autobiographies published this year.
The other music books set to be printed (and issued as e-editions) are, as The Guardian
briefs, are books by Neil Young, Pete Townsend (of The Who), Nicky Wire (of the Manic Street Preachers), Tracey Thorn (formerly of Everything But The Girl) and Rod Stewart.
The extent that this set of rock-and-roll life stories are truly autobiographical rather than ghost written or tired assemblies of 'cut-and-paste' newspaper articles is unknown. Unknown, except that is, from Morrissey's book. Morrissey is frequently placed in polls of the top ten greatest popular musical lyricists and he declared with a BBC interview
last year that he is writing his manuscript.
The New Musical Express
quotes Morrissey as saying, in relation to the forthcoming book:
"I see it as the sentimental climax to the last 30 years. It will not be published until December 2012, which gives me just enough time to pack all I own in a box and disappear to central Brazil. The innocent are named and the guilty are protected."
Morrissey was born Steven Patrick Morrissey in Lancashire, UK in 1959. In partnership with the guitarist Johnny Marr he formed The Smiths, who became one of the most influential alternative bands in the 1980s. The Smiths produced such songs as "Girlfriend In A Coma", "How Soon Is Now?", "Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" and "Meat Is Murder". After the group split in 1987 Morrissey started a successful solo career. In his first years he issued a number of successful chart songs including "Suedehead", "The Last of the Famous International Playboys", "Everyday Is Like Sunday" and "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful". His most acclaimed album during this period was, arguably, "Vauxhall and I".
After releasing "Maladjusted" in 1997 Morrissey went into a period of hiatus before returning with the successful album "You Are The Quarry" in 2004. This was followed by the UK number one album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors" in 2006 and "Years Of Refusal" in 2009. Morrissey is currently looking for a record label and, as he told Billboard
, he does not mind if it a major label or an independent label provided that it does not restrict his creativity: "I am independent by nature. I am an independent artist even when I am on a major label. The word "indie" is meaningless now. It's so over-used that people think it simply means green hair."
In recent years Morrissey has continued to be in the headlines expressing his views about politics, green and animal rights
issues (Morrissey is a vegetarian and a campaigner for PETA
). He will appear in court shortly where he is suing
the UK music newspaper the NME over charges that it selectively edited various interviews with him to make him appear 'racist'.
In his songs Morrissey is well known for weaving in real life events (Morrissey was influenced by the social realism of the 'kitchen sink dramas' of the 1950s, films like a "Taste Of Honey
"). For example, having been involved in a legal dispute
over The Smiths royalties he added this comment about the judiciary to his song "The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get":
I bear more grudges
Than lonely high court judges
When you sleep
I will creep
Into your thoughts
Like a bad debt
That you can't pay
Take the easy way
And give in"
With many tales to tell about The Smiths, his falling out with former band members, his childhood spent reading Oscar Wilde and listening to the "New York Dolls", his celibacy, and with opinions on just about everything, the autobiography is set to be an interesting and provocative read.