During this time his image began to shift into that of a more burly figure, who toyed with patriotic imagery and working-class masculinity.In the mid-to-late 1990s, his subsequent albums, Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted, also charted but were less well received.
In February 1984, they released their debut album, The Smiths, which reached number 2 on the UK Albums Chart.Highly influential, Morrissey has been credited as a seminal figure in the emergence of indie rock and Britpop.Acclaimed as one of the greatest lyricists in British history, his lyrics have become the subject of academic study.At the time, Morrissey's best male friend was James Maker; he would visit Maker in London or they would meet up in Manchester, where they visited the city's gay bars and gay clubs, in one case having to escape from a gang of gay bashers.Alongside developing their own songs, they also developed a cover of The Cookies' "I Want a Boy for My Birthday", the latter reflecting their deliberate desire to transgress established norms of gender and sexuality in rock in a manner inspired by the New York Dolls.
All I learnt was to have no self-esteem and to feel ashamed without knowing why"."I lost myself in music at a very early age, and I remained there ... I remember feeling the person singing was actually with me and understood me and my predicament." Having left formal education, Morrissey initially gained employment as a clerk for the civil service, and then for the Inland Revenue, also working in a record store and as a hospital porter, although subsequently quit and began claiming unemployment benefits.