WATCH: Why Are The Smiths Called The Smiths?
22 January 2018, 14:52
Think you know the reason behind their name? Find out here...
This week brings the news that former Smiths members are set to reunite for very special shows alongside Camerata Orchestra this year.
While we continue to wonder whether we'll ever see Morrissey and Johnny Marr on stage as a band ever again, there's one thing we can be a little more certain of: How The Smiths got their name.
By the end of 1982, Morrissey had devised the band's now famous moniker, but according to one theory in fan folklore, he came up with three versions; The Smiths, Smiths Family, and Smithdom asking Johnny Marr to choose between them at the time, with the guitarist opting for the first.
Another theory says the frontman simply went up to Marr's house with "The Smiths" written on a piece of paper, which he held up to the guitarist.
How exactly Morrissey delivered the news of the band name might be up for debate, but the reason why he chose it can be seen as far more simple. "Ordinary" even...
When asked about the origins of their name on kids' TV show DataRun in 1984, Marr replied: "We call ourselves The Smiths, because you decided (pointing at Morrissey) we'd call ourselves the Smiths."
Morrissey added to their audience of school children: "And I decided because it was the most ordinary name, and I thought it's time that the ordinary folk of the world showed their faces".
Watch the full video below:
Marr backs up this theory on The South Bank Show in 1987 when talking about some of their contemporaries such as Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, who they thought of as overly complicated and verbose.
He mused: "You've got all these synthesising duos, really mixing metaphors, really corny as hell metaphorical lyrics with 18 syllable names.
"And because we understood all that totally, we were involved in it to an extent and observed it, we just turned the whole thing around and called ourselves The Smiths..."
Watch the guitarist explain all in this throwback footage of the TV show:
There is however one other theory, which isn't ordinary at all, and instead cites Morrissey's interest in the Moors Murders, which were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in and around Manchester between 1963 and 1965.
The couple, often dubbed as the the most depraved serial killers to blight the United Kingdom, killed five children between the age of five and 17- a subject dealt with in The Smiths' 1984 track, Suffer Little Children.
The lyrics to the track were written by Marr and Morrissey after he had read a book on the murders- Beyond Belief: The Moors Murderers: The Story of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley by Emlyn Williams.
The murder of one of Brady's victims, Edward Evans, was witnessed by Hindley's 17-year-old brother-in-law David Smith, who was married to her sister Maureen.
Though Smith initially helped hide the body, he was then urged to shop Brady to the police after recounting the story to his wife Maureen-thus ending the couple's horrific spate of murders.
While we'll never truly know what impact these events had on the band's name, Morrissey and Marr's explanation of The Smiths being "ordinary" seems to be the the one they stuck by.
Though looking back, nothing seems particularly ordinary about Morrissey at all...