For fans of The Smiths, it is the equivalent of The Beatles crossing Abbey Road. This photograph (above) featured on the inside sleeve of the Smiths’ bestselling album, The Queen Is Dead, making Morrissey and his bandmates synonymous with Manchester’s Salford Lads Club and Coronation Street.
More than 25 years later, the building looks much the same. The tilting bollards have been replaced. The graffiti has been cleaned up and even the paving stones are tidier. But the original Salford Lads Club sign remains. When Stephen Wright, the photographer who took the original portrait of the band back in 1985, invited fans to pose outside it via fansites, he was inundated with volunteers.
Young and old Smiths aficionados turned up in droves. Some wore Smiths t-shirts, others did pouting impressions of the singer. There were plenty of quiffs to be seen and even a bunch or two of gladioli. The best of the fan pictures will go on display as part of a wider exhibition about the band, The Gospel According To...(part 1), which opens at The Holden Gallery this week.
Exploring connections between the band and European artists, the exhibition has been timed to coincide with the 30 anniversary of the Smiths’ formation. Other contributors include Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, performance artist Lucienne Cole and ex-Smiths drummer Mike Joyce.
From 16 March to 4 May, www.holdengallery.mmu.ac.uk
For more information about Stephen Wright, www.smithsphotos.com/ salfordladsclub.org.uk