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The Smiths by Nalinee Darmrong (Rizzoli, 2016)

10 July 2016

Introduced to the music of The Smiths via a tape that she got from a friend, author and photographer Nalinee Darmrong went to see them in Washington, D.C. shortly thereafter and met them backstage one night. From there, she followed them all over the country and photographed them on and offstage while amassing tour memorabilia that she collected on their 1985 and 1986 U.S. tours. 30 years later, we are just now seeing the fruits of her labor.

On the surface, this just-released tome is a coffee-table book full of nice photos. While that is true, it’s also much more. Darmrong, who joined The Smiths on their 1985 and 1986 U.S. tours, was able to capture remarkable moments both on-stage and off. Many of these photos have never been published anywhere else, so hardcore Smiths fans will want this for that fact alone.

However, there’s more. There are also photos of various ticket stubs, backstage passes and other memoribilia from these tours along with Darmrong’s observations from those heady teenage years (she was 15 when she was first introduced to them and not much older when she started touring with them) about not just music, but family, friends and school as well. But that’s not all. With introductions by Darmrong herself along with Andy Bell of Ride and writer Marc Spitz, this is a love letter to The Smiths as well.

This is, on the whole, a book about being completely in love with the music of one band and about what possibilities that could lead to.



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