The making of Morrissey, courtesy of Margaret Thatcher and Mr. Johnny Marr. (Slate/photo by Louise Wilson)
That was May of 1982. By January '83, the Smiths were gigging. At their second show, in a Manchester club called the Manhattan, Morrissey concluded the evening by reaching into his back pocket and raining confetti on a delirious crowd. The following May, the band released its first single, "Hand in Glove." It's a solid debut but nothing compared with November's "This Charming Man," one of a handful of perfect A-sides ever produced by such a freshly formed band. Marr's guitar attack is angular, like post-punk, but also graciously melodic; Morrissey's singing has fully evolved, from the nondescript droning of "Hand In Glove," into … well, into Morrissey. "I would go out tonight/ But I haven't got a stitch to we-eeear. …" No band had ever sounded so good so quickly. The song has not aged a day, and when I listen to it, neither have I. How did it come together so exquisitely?