A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths by Tony Fletcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For a long time fan of The Smiths, and the post-punk 80’s in general, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Fletcher’s prose is tight, concise, very elegant at times and very witty, which made it an experience in form as well as content. Some reviewers have stated that Fletcher buries his story underneath “endless minutia”. If you are a true music fan, there is no “minutia” here. The author is just very careful to examine how The Smiths, but most notably Morrissey and Johnny Marr, fit into the Mancunian panoplia of bands emerging in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

And THAT, to me at least, was priceless. As a whole, Fletcher’s story gave me a new appreciation for Johnny Marr’s genius, drive and self-sacrifice, and kindled a strange loathing for Mozz’s irresponsibility, feeble-spiritedness and cowardice masquerading as artistic panache. I still love him, though. As an outro, I have to say that my favorite parts are when Fletcher fleshes out each song’s genesis, revealing contexts and creative processes of great interest… most notably, the cryptic, hypnotic, and unbearably intense “I Won’t Share You”.

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