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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 43 reviews
on July 27, 2015
This book is full of just about everything you wanted to know about The Smiths, from beginning to end. While I mostly wanted to hear about how the songs were written and the inter-band relationships, I also learned a ton of information about the nuances of band-label relationships, the dynamics of 1980s music press and industry at large, and so on.

Tony Fletcher also has a lot of interesting takes on songs and albums that are pretty objective; there isn't much literary interpretation of Morrissey's lyrics here, thank god. It makes me listen to The Smiths in a whole new way, and I gotta thank Fletcher for that. His perspective on Meat Is Murder is particularly enlightening; Fletcher admits that the album in part made him become a vegetarian.

It should be noted that Fletcher got extensive interviews with Johnny Marr and Andy Rourke but not Mike Joyce and Morrissey, which is lacking at times. Fletcher tends to paint Morrissey in a particularly bad light, but it's hard to tell if that's Fletcher's bias or Morrissey just really is an a**hole (from all the quotes from other people in the book, it probably is the latter).

Sometimes there was too much information, though. It's true that Tony Fletcher was incredibly involved in the music industry at the time - from interviewing members of The Smiths to putting out records in his own band, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I want to hear about Fletcher's band or the fact that he was at this show or that show. Often there would be huge tangents about the music industry that had next to nothing to do with The Smiths. The sentences themselves would get so long with gigantic dependent clauses, parenthetical asides, and footnotes to the point of absurdity. There was even a parenthetical aside within a parenthetical aside that had its own footnote. The fact that the short Smiths quotes at the beginning of each chapter didn't necessarily encapsulate what Fletcher was going to talk about for that chapter showed that he lacked organization and and conciseness. The fact that Fletcher doesn't always use a semicolon and other grammatical tools correctly really irks me.

Overall, I really don't like Fletcher's writing style, and it made for a really slow read. But the information is too good to pass up, so I would say just plow through it and become a bigger Smiths fan in the process!
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VINE VOICEon January 28, 2013
You probably need to be a serious fan before you go in on 700 pages about the band. Though I am going to try to loan this book to a friend who knows nothing of the Smiths to see if the obsession in the book, in the writing, in the backgrounds, in the details, is at all infectious. The Smiths are one of the great bands of the 1980s, and perhaps of popular music in the second half of the 20th century. If they're important, then the details are important as well, so you learn the backdrop, the pavement of Manchester, the UK music magazine scene, the post-punk era, and most of all the personalities of Marr and Morrissey.
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on June 7, 2017
I thought I knew a lot about one of my favorite bands, but I was wrong. This book is so in depth and so informative, I've learned so much. I'm already intending to purchase Tony Fletcher's Remarks Remade, about REM. I highly recommend this book for any true fan of The Smiths.
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on February 22, 2015
Great book! The author, who has written several other biographies about figures in the music industry, does a really nice job of delving into the different personalities of the Smiths, while giving a thorough history of their origins and their music. Well written, found myself eager to read each new chapter. Highly recommended!
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on April 1, 2014
Just finished reading this. Excellent book. You'll enjoy whether you're a Smiths fan or not. A lot of good insight into this terrific band whose run ended way too abruptly. Ah, what could have been!!! Highly recommended.
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on August 15, 2016
It's a good read. Tony Fletcher's always on point. I have no desire to review books, but read it now.
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on June 6, 2016
If your a Smiths fan you must read and own this book. I couldn't put it down from the moment it arrived.
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on March 23, 2016
Item arrived quickly and in perfect condition. Would recommend!
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on January 28, 2013
So far, I have finished about half of the book. Lots of pages and small print. I am not an avid reader anyway. Most of what I have read, I already knew about. I own another bio about the Smith's, but this one is a little more in depth. So for what I have read, I am pleased with and would recommend this book. I bought a hard cover first edition just out of habit. It is very heavy after holding it for awhile, so if soft copy is not an issue, I would recommend that as the one to get. I just buy first edition hard copies when possible as they sometimes increase in value and they also look much better on our library shelf. My partner is quite an avid reader and buys mostly soft copies,but we donate a lot of the soft backs to the local libraries.

I have been a huge fan of The Smith's since I heard their first single in the early eighties. I remember that it was just a 12 inch two sided single in a white slip cover and it played at 45 rpm. I really miss records and i am considering buying a VPI Scout turntable in the near future. I had many of these early gems from several artist like New Order, Joy Division and other great U.K. bands from that era. I wish I still had the 12 inch singles, they sell for a lot on auction sites and I would like to replace the ones I gave away for the "new and supposedly better format", the CD.

Great read so far,

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on January 7, 2013
Fascinating study of the Smiths. Tony Fletcher writes with a rare passion, verve and detail and keeps the reader moving with the story. All you need to know about the Smiths, the reality of life in 50s-80s Britain and the independent music scene. Highly recommended.
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