Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance” as Want to Read:
Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,401 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The story of the rise and fall of The Smiths, the lives of singer Steven Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr and the differences that tore them apart.
Paperback, 358 pages
Published December 31st 1993 by Omnibus Press (first published 1992)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Morrissey & Marr, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Morrissey & Marr

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,401 ratings  ·  48 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book is hugely overrated. The two stars I've given it are purely because The Smiths are great and their story is great but if you've obsessively read all of the Smiths-related articles and interviews on the internet, there is no point in reading this at all unless you desperately desire information on Morrissey's grandmother. Tbh, to write a dull book on The Smiths is a crime in itself but Rogan's book is also irritating in that the chapters on Morrissey's childhood are filled with quotes a ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

I recently looked up "miserable" in a rhyming dictionary and it said, "sorry, no perfect rhymes could be found".

Lucky for us there is Morrissey.

I think Morrissey has answered the one question that the rest of humanity most dreads: if you could only have one, would you choose sex or romance?

If you choose sex and it's absent from your life, at least you can slip into left-hand drive.

If you choose romance, sometimes you have to make do with misery.

It helps if you can w
Jul 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: every true fan
Exhaustingly researched, this book is recommended for true fans. If not an obsessive fan, skip the first 150 pages and you will still love it. It is researched so well, the first 150 pages read like a daily list of morrissey's life. "What did he eat on friday, 24 June, 1980" is not in truth a joke that is funny anymore. The author -Johnny Roghan- is intuitive in his writing enough to know when not to include information, but only after page 150 (when The Smiths actually form as a band). If you ...more
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Im afraid that i will have to echo many of the sentiments in other reviews of this book for i also found it to be quite a sluggish read, firstly having to slosh through the first hundred pages or so with little to nothing of any interest to fans of either Morrissey or Marr, secondly the almost overbearing tone of writing by Rogan is at times enough to make your eyes fall out from rolling them so much at what you had just read. that aside i must admit for any perspective fans this is a book to st ...more
Neal Alexander
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In-depth study of The Smiths, starting back a couple of generations with Morrissey and Marr’s Irish families. Combines thorough research and a fan’s enthusiasm, without glossing its subjects, particularly in the material on the post-split ‘worker Smiths’ lawsuit. One bonus is the appendix of set lists: I could date my seeing them at the Edinburgh Caley Palais on 14 June 1984.
Apr 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Often held as the greatest work in modern music literature, this is the book that caused Morrissey to famously wish death on Johnny Rogan. The level of research is staggering. Perhaps not for those without an interest in Morrissey or the post-punk music scene.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Spoiler alert: After reading this book (if you are a obsessive Smiths fan as I am) you might find both Morrissey and Johnny Marr to be slightly less likeable then before.

Johnny Rogan is one excellent mine-digger for information. That's all I can say!
Dec 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is a brilliant book, exhaustively researched etc and every Smiths fan must read it (even if Morrissey says not to)!
kim McRad
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
a little longwinded but by far the best morrissey book out there.
Martin Jones
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this book were a novel, it would start out as a modern Tom Brown’s Schooldays. Tom is now a sensitive Manchester lad named Steven Morrissey trying to survive life in a bleak secondary modern school in the 1970s. His coping mechanism is to retreat to his bedroom and listen to music by Sandie Shaw, Cilla Black, Marc Bolan, and the New York Dolls. His only link with the music business, apart from going to concerts and listening to records, is the odd letter to a music magazine.

Then against all
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hey why's only one of em on the cover?!?

This ended up being quite a history of Irish/British politics and society, and really dug through the nuances of the art and the personalities of the band. It was tougher to read than I expected, but was highly satisfying.
Cindy Beeman
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
At first I found it boring, it reminded me of the other book I read about Morrissey, the one that made me kinda hate him. But it grew on me, and I liked how the author incorporated words of the Smiths songs into the story. Now I have to go listen to all the Smiths albums.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A long book but definitely the definitive Smiths story. The financial aspects of the book are very interesting given what happened with the court case a few years after this book was originally published
Steve Rincon
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book, although I really wasn't interested in his ancestors at all. Otherwise, the book is fantastic!
Muhammad Hafid
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heaven Knows "this book" Miserable Now :(
Adam Sigmund
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great details on Morrissey and Marr history.
Oct 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, music
This book was perhaps a tad overstuffed and overly detailed for the first 100 pages or so (love the right-on complaint from the reader below: "did we really need to know about Morrissey's *grandmother*?") but once Rogan got into the nuts and bolts of the formation of the group and their brief, tumultous, but often glorious history, I plowed through the last half of the book in a day, as my love of The Smiths rose like a phoenix from the ashes of my years as a twentysomething fanboy. I had a majo ...more
Heather Van breda
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Three stars for being thorough. But I never got what I wanted out of the book, which was a look at how Morrissey and Marr interacted, of their relationship. It's not the books fault, it was a biography, after all. But I kept hoping I'd get a better look at the relationship, but it was mostly on-the-record information. I'd love to read an embellished, even a little imagined, The Story of The Smiths based on this biographic report.

It was rather enjoyable to read how their songs came together, and
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: music

I am 86% certain I read this book 10 years ago. I know I read a book about The Smiths at that time, but I am blanking on the details. I remember it as a difficult read, during a difficult time. Perhaps it was all the more depressing because I myself was then depressed. Or maybe there was more detail than I wanted to read. That sounds familiar. I'm now considering reading another book about The Smiths. I thought I might try Simon Goddard's The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life. At this point, 25
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you know me at all, you know that I am an obsessive, adulating fan of both The Smiths and Morrissey - although I suppose the sentiments of most Moz fans are equally extreme. That adoration aside, I've found this book to be an extremely valuable read for its loquacious writing, historical accuracy, and generally fascinating assessment of the phenomenon that was/is The Smiths, or Morrissey/Marr. The facts that this guy digs up are astounding - he has an insatiable thirst for knowledge of the UK ...more
Sep 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Thorough to the point of being obsessive, this is by far the most comprehensive rock biography you will ever read. For example, apparently it was not enough to simply tell the reader that Morrissey was born in Ireland – the author gives a complete history of the family & provides a detailed picture of the socioeconomic climate of Ireland at the time. There was a point where I literally forgot I was reading a book about music. It does not get any better than this, however, if you like thorough wo ...more
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book appears to be very well researched. It is also incredibly well written hence not just there to present the bare facts but to elaborate eloquently with interesting vocabulary choices along the way. My favourite chapters were 'The Private World' because that looked at the period of time in which Morrissey was my age and 'The Formation of The Smiths' because it showed how well Morrissey and Marr got on originally and how worthy of writing about their initial meeting was. I thoroughly reco ...more
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, biography
This is a great book if you are an obsessive fan of The Smiths. But if you are not that obsessive, or just not into knowing every little detail of a celebrity's life, this book may have way too much information for you. As one reviewer points out, the book flows much better in the latter half, after the formation of The Smiths. But something that makes the first half worth skimming through are events that inspired some of Morrissey's lyrics.
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the longest I've ever taken to read a book. There is so much detail, starting with the history of the entire solar system. Morrissey doesn't even meet Marr until p.208 (plus I discovered Candy Crush when I was halfway through). It's great that every detail of the Smiths' existence is fully documented, but it's kind of like an old smurf collection - I'll probably never look at it again but happy to know it's there if I want to!
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Obsessively researched by a man who truly loved the 1980s indy and "The Smiths." My favorite group, so it was interesting to read about the strange relationship between the lyricist and singer, and his composer. It is a tale of the sad unraveling of one of the most talented singer/songwriter duos since Lennon/McCartney.
Jul 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I actually loved, loved, loved it when I first read it. Now it's more of a novelty because I'm less obsessed with Morrissey the man these days. My affection for The Smiths and his solo work is still true, but this book doesn't interest me as much as it did when I was a teenager.
May 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Incredibly irrelevant. Much of the information in the book doesn't directly have anything to do with Morrissey. I don't care who was on TOTP when Morrissey was 15. Not everything that happened in world when he was alive is relevant to him...
Tom Bates
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Huge Smiths fan and have read almost every book about them but this is the best one, written 20 years ago, and details almost everything you could wish to know about the personalities in the band and the record industry, with a smattering of relevant local history. Very, very good!
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My full and detailed review is at my site:

A hugely expanded and updated edition of this seminal work. It doesn't replace Fletcher's or Goddard's excellent Smiths books but it is still the benchmark.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Read this when it came out years ago, it being one of the few books o could find about my favorite band. Alas, I found it to be lacking in many details but it was satisfying just to have any information to mull over. Maybe I should re-read it to see if my first impression holds up
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Autobiography
  • No One Here Gets Out Alive
  • England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond
  • Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991
  • Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division
  • Rip it Up and Start Again
  • Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star
  • Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
  • Love Is a Mix Tape
  • Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys
  • Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored
  • Scar Tissue
  • Shakey: Neil Young's Biography
  • Running from a Rock Star (Brides on the Run, #1)
  • We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk
  • Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink
  • Set the Boy Free
  • The Haçienda: How Not to Run a Club
See similar books…

Related Articles

If you haven't heard of record-smashing singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, is there any hope for you? Who else has sold more than 200 million...
47 likes · 20 comments