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As the lead singer of the Smiths, arguably the most important indie band in Britain during the '80s, Morrissey's theatrical crooning and literate, poetic lyrics -- filled with romantic angst, social alienation, and cutting wit -- connected powerfully with a legion of similarly sensitive, disaffected youth. These fans turned The Smiths into stars in Britain, exerting tremendous pull over much of the country's guitar-based music for many years after their breakup, and even if the group remained underground cult artists in the States, they had a fanbase that slowly, steadily grew larger over the years.
Indeed, a few years after The Smiths's breakup in 1987, Morrissey's American cult had grown to the point where he became more popular in the U.S. than in his homeland, where he neverthless was never far from the music press headlines. After a quiet period around the turn of the millennium, Morrissey launched a comeback in 2004 with You Are the Quarry, an album whose success proved that he remained one of the most beloved figures in alternative rock.