When I was in 12th grade at Midview High School in Grafton, Sue Cihla, the girl I would’ve taken to prom if I hadn’t been too afraid of rejection to ask, was incredulous that I, who claimed to have “advanced” taste in music, hadn’t yet heard the Smiths. So she told me to give her a blank cassette, then made me a copy of their eponymous debut album, calling it the best record ever. Since my cassette was one of those 90-minute jobs and the whole album fit on one side, she put Culture Club’s Colour by Numbers on the other side. I was most excited about Culture Club, since I was already infatuated with their “Karma Chameleon” single. Come to think of it, Sue had refused to copy Colour by Numbers for me unless I’d agree to give the Smiths a whirl as well. But it wasn’t until I’d worn out Boy George and friends that I gave The Smiths more than a cursory listen, and soon I began to think Sue Cihla was right.
Here’s a clip of The Smiths (Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke, and Mike Joyce) performing a song from that album in 1984: