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
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.