This Day in Music History: The Smiths made their live debut


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On this day in 1982, The Smiths made their live debut at The Ritz in Manchester, opening for Blue Rondo a La Turk.

Here is what Johnny Marr had to say about that first gig:

I knew the Blue Rondo audience wouldn’t give us much of a chance, so we went out there to be really aggressive. I really had this attitude of, “I know you people just want to stand around at the bar posing, but listen to this, you’re not going to hear anything like it again.” We were really threatening. I think we had to be at that time. We did four songs, including ‘Handsome Devil’ and ‘Suffer Little Children’. I was pretty nervous. Not as nervous as I got later on with The Smiths, mind you. I counteracted it with heaps and heaps of attitude. I knew we were gonna be one fairly confusing prospect for the audience, which I was not unhappy about. I knew there was nothing around like us. Morrissey and I were both hugely into ’60s girl bands too, only via what David Johansen let slip in interviews and the Dolls’ cover versions. That’s why we did The Cookies’ song [‘I Want A Boy For My Birthday’] at that first show. Very Dollsy.

***The photo used in this post is The Smiths onstage at the Manhattan, Manchester (with James Maker, left), January 25, 1983

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