I'm not sure you'd say the Smiths started indie, but they certainly were incredibly influential to future indie music. If you look hard enough, indie roots can be traced back to the '60s or even late '50s. But there is no doubt that the Smiths opened up a new sound of music to a much wider audience. Most indie bands can say that they were influenced by REM, the Smiths, the Cure etc. It all depends on your definition of indie.