The Smiths: Morrissey (vocals); Johnny Marr (guitar); Andy Rourke (bass); Mike Joyce (drums).
Recorded in England in Winter 1985.
Personnel: Morrissey (vocals); Johnny Marr (guitar); Andy Rourke (bass guitar); Mike Joyce (drums); Ann Coates (background vocals).
Recording information: England (1985).
Photographers: Steve Wright ; Alain Delon.
Arguably the Smiths' masterpiece, THE QUEEN IS DEAD found the band at the artistic apex of a career that knew few lows. More than any of their other albums, THE QUEEN IS DEAD represents the elegance, craftsmanship and humor for which the Smiths are remembered. Opening the album, the explosive title track is filled with vintage punk-era iconoclastic rage, wherein Morrissey tears at the very fabric of the British monarchy atop the howling feedback and swirling chords of Johnny Marr and the pounding fury of Rourke and Joyce (whose punk roots were never so apparent).
THE QUEEN IS DEAD also contains some of the band's most disarmingly beautiful work. "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" bears a lush accompaniment and utterly miserable lyric, while the chiming, heavenly atmosphere of "The Boy With A Thorn In His Side," as convincing an ode to the sensitive outcast as has ever been penned. "Bigmouth Strikes Again," the album's most recognizable tune, is a dizzying adrenaline rush. And the upbeat tunesmanship of Marr was never in sharper contrast with Morrissey's lyrical ire than on the bouncy, wistful "Cemetry Gates."
Rolling Stone (4/17/03, p.109) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...One of the funniest rock albums ever..."
Spin - "Johnny Marr's musical contribution is beautifully documented. The guitar-synth arrangements are thematic, subtly shaded, and often exciting..."
Q (6/00, p.76) - Ranked #27 in Q's "100 Greatest British Albums"
Alternative Press (8/01, p.112) - Included in AP's "10 Essential '80s Albums".
Alternative Press (7/95, p.75) - Ranked #2 in AP's list of the `Top 99 Of '85-'95' - "...THE QUEEN IS DEAD remains today a passionate carpet-bombing of every stuffy, phony inch of the English earth....Like Tennessee Williams' best drama, it's...about the defense of innocence, about drag queens coming out of the closet only to face a prickly, heartless and heartlessly boring world..."
CMJ (1/5/04, p.18) - Ranked #2 in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1986"
NME (Magazine) (9/25/93, p.18) - Ranked #2 among the `50 Greatest Albums Of The 80s' - "...Neither before nor after have Morrissey and Marr come close to making such an ambitious, consistent, touching and witty album..."
NME (Magazine) (10/2/93, p.29) - Ranked #10 in NME's list of the `Greatest Albums Of All Time.'