If The Smiths had never existed, could they break through in 2010?

Librarian On Fire

Active Member
I believe that so often music and bands owe their existence to a certain time and the environment in which they play. Punk could never really exist nowdays. There's not as much to protest against and we would all probably be too cynical to appreciate the Sex Pistols.

If the Smiths had never existed before and then suddenly in December 2010 along comes the single "This Charming Man" gets released by a album label would the band get the same measure of success that they did back in 1983? The world has changed. No longer would we all be watching The Old Grey Whistle Test. The programme has long gone, plus with satellite TV and now more TV channels available there is little chance we'd all be tuned into the one programme. The press is different. NME is well rubbish and only read by a few. Online too. Would they the NME pick up on this band? Would we have to wait until someone blogs about The Smiths, or even worse wait until someone uploads a gig to YouTube and then we hope like hell that we find it. I think the band would have to wait until they get a little bit of success and then appear at the 3.30pm slot at a festival.

And as for Morrissey? Could he still be the same and would people listen? Maybe there are others who are defending animal rights. More established spokes people. A singer who wears op-shop clothes and skinny jeans? There are a multitude of skinny jean bands out there. The more I think about it I don't think The Smiths could break through in December 2010.
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
I believe that so often music and bands owe their existence to a certain time and the environment in which they play. Punk could never really exist nowdays. There's not as much to protest against and we would all probably be too cynical to appreciate the Sex Pistols.

If the Smiths had never existed before and then suddenly in December 2010 along comes the single "This Charming Man" gets released by a album label would the band get the same measure of success that they did back in 1983? The world has changed. No longer would we all be watching The Old Grey Whistle Test. The programme has long gone, plus with satellite TV and now more TV channels available there is little chance we'd all be tuned into the one programme. The press is different. NME is well rubbish and only read by a few. Online too. Would they the NME pick up on this band? Would we have to wait until someone blogs about The Smiths, or even worse wait until someone uploads a gig to YouTube and then we hope like hell that we find it. I think the band would have to wait until they get a little bit of success and then appear at the 3.30pm slot at a festival.

And as for Morrissey? Could he still be the same and would people listen? Maybe there are others who are defending animal rights. More established spokes people. A singer who wears op-shop clothes and skinny jeans? There are a multitude of skinny jean bands out there. The more I think about it I don't think The Smiths could break through in December 2010.

In trying to answer the question I was immediately detoured into asking another question: would the scene in 2010 look like the scene in 2010, had The Smiths never existed? I'd think if The Smiths came along in 2010 they would succeed, but not with the same impact. Not even close. They'd get lumped in with a slew of other bands who didn't sound like them but occupied the same basic indie rock category. But of course once you reach that conclusion, you have to remember that The Smiths sort of invented that category, or at least dominated it for a long stretch of time. So, again, how different would 2010 look had The Smiths never existed?
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Bono, never challenged, would by now be Pope? :lbf:

"Vatican City...yeah, I said, Vatican City...am I buggin' you? Am I gettin' under your skin? Twenty million teenage girls and their partners will f*** with condoms this month...we ain't havin' that, are we Edge? No rubbers! Sing it! No more rubbers!"
 

lnathan

New Member
Isn't that a bit like asking "if the phone had not existed before, would it be popular if it was invented today"?
 

lnathan

New Member
Do you think The Smiths would be a dinosaur today the way the first phones are now?

I just meant that it's difficult to imagine a music scene without the impact of The Smiths in the same way it's difficult to imagine a world without the impact of the phone. You just can't remove a bit of culture from it's context like that.
 
Last edited:

Oh my god. it's Robby!

spontaneously luminescent
in answer to the initial question, I say:
no :straightface:
and as a matter of fact they never really even "broke through" over here in the USA :o
I mean, I remember just assuming that people who I knew in high school who had music by bands like say Depeche Mode, would also have The Smiths
I was often wrong about this, only my "proto-Goth" friends really knew the Smiths & Morrissey :o
so, no, The Smiths would have no chance today, even in the UK, because you guys are even more like us(the USA) than you were say 25 years ago
right? :confused:
also, the only thing that gives me pause in my saying an unequivical no is that there are so many bands since The Smiths that clearly echo them or just plain steal from them :cool:
however, how could they have done this if there never were The Smiths back then?


ps: no, I have not read the rest of the thread yet, I thought this deserved the standard non-well thought out Robby answer to the initial question :p
 

bhops

Last of the famous international screw ups.
This is such an easy one for me. If The Smiths were around today they would be 10 times as big as they were back then. I say 10 times conservatively.

Coldplay should thank their lucky stars The Smiths aren't around today. This Charming Man shits on anything those guys can come up with. And The Smiths are so genuine.

They would break Amnerica with ease.

They absolutely paved the way for independent music as we know it.

Screw the Old Grey Whistle Test, can you mimagine The Smiths turning up on The Johnathon Ross show? People would drop their kebabs and wet their pants. Simultaneously.
 

SparkleBoy

worships Johnny Thunders
No. They would be the Thompson Twins.
 

Jones

Senior Member
No. There's no room for oddness in today's music scene. Everything is prepackaged and marketed. When was the last time someone genuinely surprising made it?
 

Fulham Road Lights

Ill-adjusted
No. There's no room for oddness in today's music scene. Everything is prepackaged and marketed. When was the last time someone genuinely surprising made it?

Oh c'mon. There's plenty of good new music around. The music scene today is better than it has been for years.
 
No. There's no room for oddness in today's music scene. Everything is prepackaged and marketed. When was the last time someone genuinely surprising made it?

lady_gaga1.jpg
?
 

Jones

Senior Member
Oh c'mon. There's plenty of good new music around. The music scene today is better than it has been for years.

Wasn't talking about good. I was talking about odd or surprising. And there is nothing surprising about Gaga. She was probably created by a marketing focus group.
 

Fulham Road Lights

Ill-adjusted
Wasn't talking about good. I was talking about odd or surprising. And there is nothing surprising about Gaga. She was probably created by a marketing focus group.

Nothing surprising about a stripper-turned-million-selling artist who turns up to an awards ceremony dressed in raw meat? Nothing surprising about the fact that an American university is now offering a full-blown course on her influence on modern day culture and society? Nothing surprising about her entire image, and the idea that it could possibly succeed in this scene that you are decrying as bland and homogenous?
 

Danny_

Forgot my login!
GaGa is a logical extension of the pop starlets of the last ten years. Anyone who thinks she is outrageous needs to get out more. She is totally calculated.

A more surprising female popstar would be someone who's never worn a basque and wears flat shoes.
 
Top Bottom