Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Smiths became known not only for Morrissey’s proto-emo lyrics and timeless melodies, but also the band’s refusal to use its members’ own images on the covers of nearly 30 albums and singles. When those albums and singles were released in the U.K. in the ’80s, many of those faces were probably already known to Smiths fans, but today’s young angsty teenagers can’t reasonably be expected to recognize the actress who played Elsie Tanner on Coronation Street for 25 years (her name is Pat Phoenix, and she’s on the cover of Shakespeare’s Sister).

NME has compiled all 27 of The Smiths’ releases and the backstories behind them, and it’s a parade of Morrissey’s pop culture idols and muses (and Morrissey does appear on just one cover). You can read the whole compilation on NME’s website.


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