The music critics' favourite, this 1986 album caught The Smiths, in many ways, at their peak. The songwriting duo Morrissey and Johnny Marr seemed to be able to produce nothing but quality - be it heart-breaking anthems like "I Know It's Over" or the breezy jangle-pop which was The Smiths' trademark, such as "Cemetry Gates".
One of the most memorable album starts ever begins with a sample from the film "The L-Shaped Room", leading incongrously into howling feedback which settles into the supreme rhythm of "The Queen Is Dead". The album displays a wide variety of both musical and lyrical styles, from music hall ("Frankly Mr. Shankly") to orchestrated balladry ("There Is A Light That Never Goes Out").
The Queen Is Dead deserves (and usually receives in polls) a place as one of the albums of all-time.
Marr said of working on the album : "There was perfect musical unity between myself, Mike, and Andy. Mike really learned to play with me like no one else. I really felt I turned him on to the Charlie Watts ethic. It was a dream for me to play on..."
The Hated Salford Ensemble is, of course, Johnny Marr, who arranged the synth strings on this album, and later credited himself as "Orchestrazia Ardwick" on Strangeways, Here We Come, after another area of Manchester.