As the lead singer of the Smiths, arguably the most important indie band in Britain during the ’80s, Morrissey’s theatrical crooning and literate, poetic lyrics — filled with romantic angst, social alienation, and cutting wit — connected powerfully with a legion of similarly sensitive, disaffected youth. These fans turned the Smiths into stars in Britain, exerting tremendous pull over much of the country’s guitar-based music for many years after their breakup. Even if the group remained underground cult artists in the States, they had a fan base that slowly, steadily grew larger over the years. Indeed, Morrissey launched a solo career with 1988’s artful Viva Hate and brought together his love of rockabilly and glam rock on 1991’s Kill Uncle and 1992’s Your Arsenal, the latter of which was produced by David Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson. By the time of 1994’s Vauxhall and I, his American cult had grown to the point where he was regularly reaching the Top 40 of the Billboard 200. After a quiet period around the turn of the millennium, Morrissey launched a comeback in 2004 with You Are the Quarry, an album whose success proved that he was still one of the most intriguing figures in alternative rock. He has remained a vital presence, collaborating with legendary producer Tony Visconti on 2006’s Ringleader of the Tormentors and releasing albums like Years of Refusal, World Peace Is None of Your Business, and Low in High School, all of which have found him exploring a variety of sonic avenues. He paid homage to some of his influences with the 2019 covers album California Son before returning to his distinctive original work with 2020’s I Am Not a Dog on a Chain and Bonfire of Teenagers.