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The Smiths

"The Smiths brought realism to their romance, and tempered their angst with the lightest of touches. The times were personified in their frontman: rejecting all taints of rock n' roll machismo, he played up the social awkwardness of the misfit and the outsider, his gently haunting vocals whooping suddenly upward into a falsetto, clothed in outsize women's shirts, sporting National Health specs or a huge Johnny Ray-style hearing aid. This charming young man was, in the vernacular of the time, the very antithesis of a 'rockist' – always knowingly closer to the gentle ironicist Alan Bennett, or self-lacerating diarist Kenneth Williams, than a licentious Mick Jagger or drugged-out Jim Morrison."

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