The Smiths: Morrissey (vocals); Johnny Marr (guitar); Andy Rourke (bass); Mike Joyce (drums).
Recorded in England in Winter 1985. Arguably the Smiths' masterpiece, THE QUEEN IS DEAD found the band at the artistic apex of a career that knew few lows. More than any of their other albums, THE QUEEN IS DEAD represents the elegance, craftsmanship and humor for which the Smiths are remembered. Opening the album, the explosive title track is filled with vintage punk-era iconoclastic rage, wherein Morrissey tears at the very fabric of the British monarchy atop the howling feedback and swirling chords of Johnny Marr and the pounding fury of Rourke and Joyce (whose punk roots were never so apparent). THE QUEEN IS DEAD also contains some of the band's most disarmingly beautiful work. "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" bears a lush accompaniment and utterly miserable lyric, while the chiming, heavenly atmosphere of "The Boy With A Thorn In His Side," as convincing an ode to the sensitive outcast as has ever been penned. "Bigmouth Strikes Again," the album's most recognizable tune, is a dizzying adrenaline rush. And the upbeat tunesmanship of Marr was never in sharper contrast with Morrissey's lyrical ire than on the bouncy, wistful "Cemetry Gates."