Before They Were Rock Stars: Morrissey

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One of rock's most outspoken personalities, Morrissey, celebrates his 54th birthday today! To commemorate the occasion, let's take a look back at what Steven Patrick Morrissey of Manchester, England, was like before he was a rock star. Was Moz always so opinionated? Did he ever go through an awkward phase? Were there any signs in his childhood that he'd be destined to write songs about shoplifters and comas? To answer the first two questions, yes. The young "Smith" was raised in a Catholic household and, apparently, a shy kid. He had an older sister, Jackie, and their mom, Elizabeth, who worked as a librarian and father, Peter, who worked as a security guard. They divorced when he was 17, at which time Morrissey also left school. It's probably no surprise to anyone who has heard his music and lyrics; he wasn't the most cheery of young men and dealt with depression.

Morrissey started writing music and poetry in his teens, but that's not all. He also made his POV on music of the day known to the publications Melody Maker and NME via many letters. (Wouldn't it be great to get a hold of one of those!) His greatest early fan was his mother, who was supportive of his passion for words: "If I needed a typewriter, she'd get me one because she believed I had talent," he's been quoted as saying. He had considered becoming a music journalist, and, in the early '80s, even penned a book about the band New York Dolls, as well as a book on James Dean. To get by, Morrissey had worked as a clerk and did stints at a hospital and record store, but it was when he met Johnny Marr in 1982 that everything changed.

Smiths and Morrissey fans, care to tell us what happened next?

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