There’s plenty to be said for longevity. As the Rolling Stones mark their 50th year together, heaven knows there’s plenty to be said.
Sometimes, though, there’s a strong case to be made for brevity. Take the Smiths, the 1980s band from Manchester, England, who created an urgent, glistening style of pop-rock music with a one-of-a-kind, epigrammatic frontman, the unabashedly plummy singer Morrissey. Even in the hyperbolic world of British rock, where the Stones and the Beatles, Oasis and Radiohead have been touted as the world’s greatest, the Smiths were a true phenomenon. And they lasted a mere five years.