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A Light That Never Goes Out
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The first group biography of one of the greatest British bands of all time - The Smiths.

About the Author

Tony Fletcher is the bestselling author of five non-fiction books and one novel. His biography of drummer Keith Moon, Dear Boy, has been named in many Best Music Book lists, and his biography of R.E.M., Remarks Remade, has been published in over half a dozen countries. During the 1980s heyday of the Smiths his magazine Jamming!, regularly featured the band as cover stars, and he was a co-presenter of the television show The Tube, for which he conducted Morrissey's first television interview. Fletcher saw the Smiths in concert for the first time at the London Lyceum in 1983, and for the last time at the Kilburn National, in 1986, on their final tour. A contributor over the years to a multitude of magazines, newspapers, radio and television shows, primarily in the UK and USA, Fletcher now lives with his wife and two sons on a mountaintop near the village of Woodstock in New York State. There he runs, skis, maintains his web site www.ijamming.net, and plays Hammond B-3 and Rickenbacker in the Catskill 45s, a group that only performs songs from 45 calendar years ago. They look forward to covering the Smiths as of 2028.

Reviews

[A] meticulous biography...This exhaustive, well-researched account brings fresh detail and thought to the party. * The Sunday Times *
A finely judged re-telling of a remarkable tale with valuable first-hand accounts of the band's American adventures, their rapid development into a wonderful live act, plus insights into the spiralling pressures and frictions that faced the individual band members. * Sabotage Times *
An exhaustive labour of love that was three years in the writing but which will be lapped up by fans of the band...written with a real sense of love and affection for the group who, though they were only together for a mere five years, tilted the world on its axis to a degree not seen since the heyday of the Beatles and the Stones...Fletcher is excellent when it comes to widening the view to include the cultural and historical factors behind the band's emergence and the city from which they came. * Irish Independent *
The story of the Smiths told on the basis of interviews with just about every surviving participant in the Smiths' story. As the story winds on, a chain of no-shows, fits of pique and self-sabotage ... reaches its denouement with an episode from April 1987, just prior to the band's formal break-up. Fletcher is the first writer to have got the full story. Such material highlights the extent to which Fletcher has done his research. * Guardian *
Tony Fletcher's account is a highly enjoyable way of revisiting [the] story. Crucially, he avoids areas well-served by other Smiths tomes and brings sufficient new material to reward even well-read fans...It's a tale that's been told before, but in his biography of the Manchester four-piece Tony Fletcher reveals new details and brings new depths to the story of Morrissey, Marr, Rourke, Joyce and the birth of the band. * Mojo *

The Smiths, one of the most influential rock groups in the U.K. since the Beatles-perhaps the most influential U.K. band of the 1980s-finally get the complete and vivid biography they deserve. Fletcher, a music journalist who has written well-received bios of rock icons R.E.M., Keith Moon of the Who, and most recently the Clash (The Complete Guide to Their Music) perfectly captures the wit and complexity of the band and its music. Fletcher details the formation of the band in Manchester in 1982 by guitarist Johnny Marr, whose goal was to combine music "led by an upbeat, chiming guitar riff" influenced by punk groups the Clash and the Jam with lyrics that were "'searingly poetic and jubilant" in the spirit of Leonard Cohen. He found his lyricist and lead singer in the now-legendary front-man Morrissey, who provided bleak and funny words to such songs as "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now." Fletcher is excellent is describing how the Smiths' music not only served as a reaction to the synth-based pop music of the early 1980s but also ushered in a new era of "indie rock" outside the corporate music world. He provides complete details of the band members' intense personal, musical, and business conflicts. Best of all for the group's ongoing admirers and fans, Fletcher displays an unflagging enthusiasm in describing every aspect of how the Smiths produced "a torrent of brilliant work in a blazing stream of exhaustive glory." (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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