The seeds of break-up of The Smiths were sown after lead singer Morrissey refused to turn up for a video shoot.

The revelation comes in A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths, a new book on the much-loved Manchester band by Tony Fletcher the author of previous books on Who drummer Keith Moon and R.E.M.

According to American video director, Tamra Davis in an interview with Fletcher for the book, three of the Smiths turned up for the video shoot which was part of a concerted effort to captialise on the band’s fast-rising profile in the US, but Morrissey hid away in his flat in Knightsbridge.

Davis, who has directed videos for Depeche Mode, New Order and Sonic Youth, says she was part of the three-person deputation sent to try and convince the singer to come down and join band members, Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke, for the shoot.

"I remember very distinctly that I had no idea if Morrissey was standing behind that door laughing at the three of us pleading with him, or crying,” she says in the book. “Johnny was like, 'That's it. The band is over' . . . And he walks away."

However, The Smith’s final break up occurred later that year at a meal Marr had organised for the band in a Notting Hill fish and chip restaurant. Andy Rourke later acknowledged that the band "broke up in a chippy".

A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths is out now on William Heinemann.