'MEETINGS WITH MORRISSEY' BY LEN BROWN
'THE BEST BOOK SO FAR ABOUT
AND THE SMITHS'
“Brown lifts the lid on one of the most individual performers we have today - from Morrissey's sexuality to what still drives him. Often biographies don't tell us anything new - this is an exception. Fans will love this insight into Morrissey.”
'ONE OF THE TEN BEST ROCK BIOGRAPHIES OF ALL TIME'
Morrissey is one of the most fascinating and provocative figures in popular music; a performer who’s achieved critical and commercial success entirely on his own terms. From the formation of his Manchester band The Smiths in 1982 through to the release of his solo 2009 collection Years Of Refusal - a career approaching 50 UK Top 40 singles and 20 UK Top 10 albums - he has attracted a fanatical following in the UK, Europe, Japan and the USA.
A self-styled thorn-in-the-side of the Establishment, Morrissey has championed unconventional sexuality, auto-sexuality and celibacy; he’s vociferously backed the animal rights movement and inspired vegetarianism; he’s famously called for Margaret Thatcher to be guillotined and for George W. Bush to be bombed. In a unique way, his songs have extended the language and subject matter of the commercial pop song, tackling subjects as diverse and difficult as paedophilia, animal cruelty, racism, child murder, shoplifting, violence, mortality, suicide and disability – all within three minutes thirty seconds!
Although there have been un-authorised scissors-and-paste-style biographies of Morrissey before, they were simply distant overviews; none of the authors had any direct contact with the artist. In contrast Len Brown’s unique biography gets behind the public image to tell Morrissey’s story in the man’s own words and explore in detail the extraordinary lyrical content of his songs.
A former New Musical Express writer turned television producer, Brown has interviewed Morrissey more times than any other journalist. Having first seen The Smiths live back in October 1983, he followed the group closely for four years up to their acrimonious, untimely death in 1987. He was the first journalist to talk to Morrissey about the end of The Smiths and the birth of his solo career.
Meetings With Morrissey focuses on the many “outcast” artists that Morrissey has elevated to iconic status – via lyrics or Smiths covers – and, in particular, offers in-depth insight into Morrissey’s lifelong commitment to promoting the genius of Oscar Wilde, who lived and flourished as a work of art exactly a century before Morrissey. Having interviewed Morrissey at the Cadogan Hotel (where Wilde was arrested), at Hook End near Reading (where Wilde was gaoled), and following a visit to Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris (where Wilde is buried), Len Brown unravels in detail the extraordinary connections between the singer and his most vital source.
In an old-fashioned/anti-modernist way, Morrissey has celebrated the past and attacked the present, musically, politically and socially. His creative focus has often been on the British working class, as portrayed ‘warts-and-all’ in film and television of the 1950s and 1960s, notably the sexually-charged Carry On comedy series and the Manchester-born soap opera Coronation Street. He’s acclaimed strong women from Pat Phoenix to Patti Smith; he’s paid respect to dead Northern stars such as George Formby and Jimmy Clitheroe; he’s saluted the Sixties British girl singers Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, Twinkle and Sandie Shaw; and celebrated the careers of artists who greatly influenced his youth, including Billy Fury, Joe Meek, Marc Bolan, the New York Dolls, Sparks and more.
Meetings With Morrissey examines this shy Mancunian’s extraordinary journey from the dawn of The Smiths through to his current tax exile status as an infamous and outspoken 21st century rock star living in Los Angeles, Ireland and Rome.
Release date: May 2009