Steven Patrick Morrissey (IPA: /ˈmɒɹɪsiː/; born May 22, 1959), known primarily as Morrissey, is a British singer and lyricist. After a short stint in the punk rock band The Nosebleeds in the late 1970s, he rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. After the band's breakup in 1987, Morrissey began a solo career, in which he continued the jangle pop sound of The Smiths. Morrissey's solo albums have garnered ten Top 10 singles in the United Kingdom. UK magazine NME has described Morrissey as "one of the most influential artists ever" and The Independent has stated that "most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status that he has reached in his lifetime."
Morrissey's sardonic, literate lyrics tend to be "dramatic...bleak, funny vignettes about doomed relationships, lonely nightclubs, the burden of the past and the prison of the home." He sings with a baritone voice, occasionally using a high falsetto voice for emphasis. His "forthright, often contrary opinions" led to a number of media controversies, such as his criticism of the Band Aid hunger-relief effort and his statements against political leaders including Margaret Thatcher and George W. Bush. He has also attracted media attention from his advocacy of vegetarianism and animal rights.