Steven Patrick Morrissey was born in Manchester on May 22nd 1959. Singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Smiths (1982-1987), Morrissey has been a solo artist for twenty-six years, during which time he has had three number 1 albums in England in three different decades. Achieving eleven Top 10 albums (plus nine with the Smiths), his songs have been recorded by David Bowie, Nancy Sinatra, Marianne Faithfull, Chrissie Hynde, Thelma Houston, My Chemical Romance and Christy Moore, amongst others.
An animal protectionist, in 2006 Morrissey was voted the second greatest living British icon by viewers of the BBC, losing out to Sir David Attenborough. In 2007 Morrissey was voted the greatest northern male, past or present, in a nationwide newspaper poll. In 2012, Morrissey was awarded the Keys to the City of Tel-Aviv. It has been said 'Most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status that Morrissey has reached in his lifetime.
David Morrissey is one of the most versatile actors of his generation. He is also a screenwriter and director.
©2013 Morrissey (P)2013 Penguin Books Ltd
"Five stars. With typical pretension, Morrissey's first book has been published as a Penguin Classic. It justifies such presentation with a beautifully measured prose style that combines a lilting, poetic turn of phrase and acute quality of observation, revelling in a kind of morbid glee at life's injustice with arch, understated humour ... It is recognisably the voice of the most distinctive British pop lyricist of his era." (Neil McCormack, Daily Telegraph)
"A brilliant and timely book ... What is so refreshing about Morrissey's Autobiography is its very messiness, its deliriously florid, overblown prose style, its unwillingness to kowtow to a culture of literary formula and commercial pigeon-holing ... Autobiography is a true baggy monster, a book in which a distinctive prose style is allowed to develop ... A rococo triumph ... Overwhelmingly this is a book to be thankful for ... In the ways that matter, Autobiography reads like a work of genuine literary class" (Alex Niven)
"The Best Music Biog Ever ... In the world of rock autobiographies, Morrissey's is nigh-on perfect." (Ben Hewitt, NME)
I came to this audiobook not knowing very much about Morrissey except what I had interpreted from his music.
The first section of the book was fascinating, his childhood, schooldays and I particularly enjoyed the story of how Morrissey began to fall in love with music and the music that inspired him to become a singer. The writing is heartfelt, warm and leads you into a possibly premature fondness for the guy.
The Story of the Smiths formation and career though is terribly underdone. You would imagine The Smiths period of his life would take quite some time to detail but it is almost casually slapped down - a collection of random anecdotes which make no linear sense and give improper credit to the legacy of the band and its place as a stepping stone into his solo work. At this point in the book, Morrissey does goes to some effort to almost fondly credit the other members of the Smiths for their various contributions to the music, despite the acrimonious issues that were to follow after the breakup of the band.
What follows after the "story of the Smiths" is confusing though. The book continues as a random collection of anecdotes and characters weaving in and out of and between his long lines of solo albums. That's not to say there is nothing of value in the content, but again there does not seem to be any linear sense to things - he will start talking about people who weren't introduced to the reader properly and random events take on an importance which they shouldn't have. e.g a long and completely unnecessary ghost story!
After this there is a long, long section detailing Morrissey's side of the famous court case brought about by the Smith's drummer. This was actually quite fascinating (as is Morrissey's view from inside the insidious world of the business of music) and as a musician myself, I can certainly sympathise with his despair at how horrible the people in the music business can be.
While the book up to this point had certainly had its faults, it was nevertheless an entertaining and sometimes fascinating listen. Despite Morrissey's notoriety, I discovered nothing that had made me think less of him.
It is the final part of the book however that will have Morrissey haters licking their lips, and I have to say he gives them plenty of ammunition! The final section of this book seems to be written by someone either blissfully unaware or uncaring of how he comes across. Written almost as a travelogue, the book becomes quite literally a long and boring list of cities he performs in and how he, the apparently magnificent and heroic artist journeys the world in a rapturous travelling communion with his fans. It goes on for so long and just becomes so absurd in its world weary grandioseness that you find the words "what a twat" unconsciously leave your mouth several times through the telling.
Its an odd feeling to end the book with as it is really hard to erase the bad taste in your mouth from the final section of the book. Of course, it wouldn't be Morrissey without the melodrama, but for this reviewer, I'll settle for the melodrama in his songs - its more palatable.
"The more you ignore me The closer I get ."
The Smith and Morrissey were not part of my musical story, I gravitated towards Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens (pre conversion), David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Vangelis; this apart from Bowie are not in his book or musical vocabulary, but that is not a problem because this is an autobiography full of rancor, spite and venom for all that have ever slighted him in a universe that belongs too Morrissey.
It feels more like novel anchored by music and popular culture of the time, the character are dickensian for the most part but landed in the world coloured by the period of the references, it is never boring, and many times I laughed out loud, many of the protagonist will have passed as selebrities of different calibers through your very real life, in magazines, interview or if you are unlucky tabloids. depending on the slight imagined or real they will be judge and punished with funny insults or sarcasm. Not many escape this treatment including the author.
This is a candid, no holds barred description of the music industry, the judiciary that runs it and protects it, and a soul that is uncomfortable in most situation, but when writing or performing on stage.
A great read from an artist that is not the norm, but loves poetry and literature as much as the charts. a guy “that bear more grudges
Than lonely high court judges”.
Beautifully written and beautifully narrated - a detailed insight in both to Morrissey and Manchester life.
"Forget music Morrissey! You should write books."
Most autobiographies are interesting to the reader because they share a past (as I do with Morrissey) but I would recommend this book to you even if you've never heard of him. It's so beautifully written, funny and warm. I loved every minute.
Mick Joyce. 'A caan't remember, a just assoomed'.
In Manchester no one can here you scream.
"typical morrisey... thats a good thing"
The way its written is just as you would expect him to be, very articulate, strangely funny but in a self deprecating way, not to mention a touch of paranoia. I will say, I have seen Morrissey live several times so I am not really an an impartial observer but even if you don't understand the man tI think the book is well worth a listen if you are interested in music at all.
He clearly understands the author and his undertones are genuinely funny.
Morrissey seems to have a lot of acquaintances dying off during the book but Kirsty McColl is particularly saddening.
Yes. It is very revealing.
Weird events I don't wish to post a spoiler on.
He conveyed the emotion of the words perfectly.
The reaction to the death of one of his friends.
In brief, the description of his Manchester upbringing that takes up the first quarter is engrossing, very well written and very evocative.
A lot of people in the music business we've all heard of get steamrollered pretty comprehensively, lots of surprises, bitchiness and deadpan humour sprinkled throughout.
There's some weird stuff I wont go into in case you want to read it yourself.
The only quibble is the length of the diatribe about his court case involving the other three members of the Smiths. I believe it goes on for fifty, yes, fifty pages.
Also the final fifth of the book is rather disappointing in comparison with the rest.
Generally a very entertaining read despite the book's rather self serving nature.
"Brilliantly written but needs a good edit!"
He is acutely perceptive, draws his characters well and it's a good, often fascinating read.
Narrator matches the story/place perfectly.
Entire self-indulgent rambling chapters in the latter part railing at great length against various solicitors/session musicians etc who wronged him. WAY too much detail for even the most avid fan! Why was all this left in?? It makes him seem petulant and unprofessional and I really didn't enjoy this sudden airing of his dirty laundry, it's beneath him and beneath his readers.
The narrator, David Morrissey, is brilliant but scarcely pauses between chapters.
"Probably the best Audible book I've ever read."
Amazing words beautifully told. Full of laughs and tears and really does come from the heart Just get it.
I was late to the Morrissey party but not now. Very well written and narrated would recommend to anyone not sure about the myth.
"Great Listen - Love Morrissey"
Enjoyed hearing about Morrissey's formative years and influences. Also liked hearing his side on some of the more controversial parts of his life. The whole book sparkles with Morrissey's wordplay and comes to life with David Morrissey's reading.
Certainly up there with the best.
I had difficulty tearing myself away from it.
Morrissey is like Marmite (and I am sure that he too would agree), you either love him or hate him. I remember there being much criticism of this book on its publication. So what's new, everything Morrissey does seems to get slated somewhere along the line. One of the main criticisms was the amount of time he spends around the court action over royalties. Well, having listened, I can appreciate why he spent so much time on it and in no way does it detract from the rest of the book. If you are looking for a run of the mill autobiography then this is probably not for you. However, if you can appreciate the sincerity and humour found in Morrissey's music then you will appreciate his approach to this book. Even if you are not a fan but you enjoy books which defy convention then you may well enjoy Autobiography. The prose borders on the poetic throughout most of the book. The passion borders on rants at times, and I have to say with good cause, and serves to illustrate his sincerity. Is this a balanced and true account of Morrissey's life? It's probably as honest as any autobiography, it is one person's view. However, it is enjoyable and entertaining.I also think David Morrissey was the perfect choice to narrate this book. One of the most enjoyable audiobooks I have listened to. I, for one, would not have been happy if this had been "ordinary" and not "Morrissey"!
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