To this day, they were, their fans believe, the best band in the world. Critics and sales figures told a similar story. Yet for all their brilliance and adoration - their famously energetic live shows routinely interrupted by stage invasions - The Smiths were continually plagued by their reticence to play the game, and by the time of 1987's Strangeways Here We Come, they had split. Tony Fletcher's A Light That Never Goes Out - part celebration, part paean - moves from Manchester in the nineteenth-century to the present day to tell the complete story of The Smiths. The product of extensive research and unprecedented access, it will serve to confirm The Smiths as one of the most important and influential rock groups of all time.
Tony Fletcher's account is a highly enjoyable way of revisiting [the] story. Crucially, he avoids areas well-served by other Smiths tomes and brings sufficient new material to reward even well-read fans...It's a tale that's been told before, but in his biography of the Manchester four-piece Tony Fletcher reveals new details and brings new depths to the story of Morrissey, Marr, Rourke, Joyce and the birth of the band. * Mojo * The story of the Smiths told on the basis of interviews with just about every surviving participant in the Smiths' story. As the story winds on, a chain of no-shows, fits of pique and self-sabotage ... reaches its denouement with an episode from April 1987, just prior to the band's formal break-up. Fletcher is the first writer to have got the full story. Such material highlights the extent to which Fletcher has done his research. * Guardian * An exhaustive labour of love that was three years in the writing but which will be lapped up by fans of the band...written with a real sense of love and affection for the group who, though they were only together for a mere five years, tilted the world on its axis to a degree not seen since the heyday of the Beatles and the Stones...Fletcher is excellent when it comes to widening the view to include the cultural and historical factors behind the band's emergence and the city from which they came. * Irish Independent * A finely judged re-telling of a remarkable tale with valuable first-hand accounts of the band's American adventures, their rapid development into a wonderful live act, plus insights into the spiralling pressures and frictions that faced the individual band members. * Sabotage Times * [A] meticulous biography...This exhaustive, well-researched account brings fresh detail and thought to the party. * The Sunday Times *