Undoubtedly, The Smiths were one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever. Their unique new wave sound – the lead vocals of frontman Morrisey coupled with Johnny Marr’s innovative approach to guitar and fantastic riffs – continue to inspire new generations of musicians today. Despite having broken up as a band in the late 1980s, they still have a devoted fan base, which is still growing, years after the bend has played their final note.
The Smiths’ rise to fame is closely tied to Manchester, England. The band dominated the Mancunian music scene in the early 1980s, along with other names of note including New Order and Joy Division. Due to their influence, Manchester developed a large alternative rock and punk music culture later in the same decade know as “Madchester”.
Many Smiths fans take trips to Manchester, to visit places related to the band. Because, let’s face it, the Smiths were all about Manchester. And the city is soaked with spots related to this amazing rock band.
In this post I want to highlight some of the most important ones every Smiths’ fan should visit.
1. 384 Kings Road (Private House)
This is a home Morrisey grew up in. The house is located around 3 miles (approx. an hour walk) from the city centre, not far from Longford Park. Definitely a must see (even though it’s a private property and you won’t be able to go inside – unless you have good convincing skills of course).
2. Strangeways Prison
Located on Southall Street, approx. 1 mile from the city center this landmark was featured in the title of The Smiths’ final album – Strangeways Here We Come. Today, the prison is called Manchester prison.
3. The Holy Name Church
Located on the corner of Oxford Road and Dover St, this church was immortalized in the lyrics of Vicar in a Tutu from their 1986 “The Queen is Dead” album. The opening line of the song goes: “I was minding my business lifting some lead off the roof of The Holy Name church”. Enough said.
4. Rusholme Area and Platt Fields Park
Rusholme is a suburban district of greater Manchester. One of the most known locations is the Platt Fields Park where they sometimes have fairs, located off Wilmslow Road. It gave the title to Rusholme Ruffians, a song from The Smiths’ 1985 Meat is Murder LP.
5. Salford Lads Club
Located on the corner of St Ignatius Walk and Coronation Street. this venue is famous for being portrayed on the back of 1986 “The Queen is Dead” album. Today Salford houses The Smiths Room, a large collection of memorabilia related to the band.
Moreover, after the bands breakup the club was often used by Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke as their rehearsal space.
6. The Ritz (The Smiths’ First Concert Venue!)
This club located on Whitworth Street West is a place where the Smiths played their first ever gig… A must place to visit, it goes without saying.
The Smiths have left their mark not only on the world of popular music but the city they were so closely connected with. It’s hard not to find a place in Manchester that wouldn’t be related to the band in one way or the other. I hope that the list above will help you get started with visiting The Smiths related places in Manchester. Of course, Manchester is wonderful for many other activities, too. So make sure to check my post on things to do in Manchester.
And if you’re interested in seeing Morrisey in concert, you can find tour dates, music history about the artist, and other information on his official website.