Posted in music

Johnny Marr (The Smiths)

English musician, singer and songwriter.Johnny Marr Was born 31 October 1963. He was co-songwriter – with Morrissey – and guitarist of the Smiths between 1982–87 & has also been a member of Electronic, The The, Modest Mouse and The Cribs, as well as a prolific session musician. In 2013, the NME honoured Marr with its Godlike Genius award, hailing Marr as “not content with rewriting the history of music with one of the world’s greatest ever band the Smiths, he has continued to push boundaries and evolve throughout his career, working with some of the best and most exciting artists on the planet.” He was voted the fourth best guitaristof the last 30 years in a poll conducted by the BBC in 2010. , Marr has been described as “arguably Britain’s last great guitar stylist


He originally aspired to be a professional football player and was approached byNottingham Forest and had trials with Manchester City F.C. He formed his first band, The Paris Valentinos, at the age of 13, with Andy Rourke and Kevin William who later became an actor, known as Kevin Kennedy), performing for the first time at a Silver Jubilee party in Benchill in June 1977, playing Rolling Stones and Thin Lizzy covers’ In 1979, he played a single gig at Wythenshawe Forum with a band called Sister Ray and re-united with Rourke in a band called White Dice. White Dice entered a demo-tape competition organised by the NME and won an audition for F-Beat Records. In October 1980, he enrolled at Wythenshawe College, serving as President of the school’s Student Union’ White Dice dissolved in 1981. He and Rourke then formed a funk band, The Freak Party, & first met Matt Johnson. By early 1982, The Freak Party had fizzled out, being unable to find a singer. he approached Rob Allman, singer in White Dice, who suggested Steven Morrissey, a short-lived singer with The Nosebleeds. they visited Morrissey at his house in Kings Road, Stretford eventually forming The Smiths. Marr’s jangly Rickenbacker and Fender Telecaster guitar playing became synonymous with the Smiths’ sound. Marr’s friend Andy Rourke joined as bass player and Mike Joyce was recruited as drummer. Signing to indie label Rough Trade Records, they released their first single, “Hand in Glove”, on 13 May 1983. By February 1984, The Smiths fanbase was sufficiently large to launch the band’s long-awaited eponymous debut album to number two in the UK chart.

Early in 1985 the band released their second album, Meat Is Murder. This was more strident and political than its predecessor, During 1985 the band completed lengthy tours of the UK and the US while recording the next studio record, The Queen Is Dead.In 1989 Spin magazine rated The Queen Is Dead as number one of “The Greatest Albums Ever Made”. Spin was not alone in this designation—numerous periodicals rank The Smiths and their albums, especially ‘The Queen Is Dead’, high on their best ever lists.NME, for example, has dubbed the Smiths the most important rock band of all time. Meanwhile, Rourke was fired from the band in early 1986 due to his use of heroin, although he was reinstated . Despite their continued success, personal differences within the band – including the increasingly strained relationship between Morrissey until in August 1987, Marr left the group, and auditions to find a replacement for him proved fruitless. By the time Strangeways, Here We Come (named after Strangeways Prison, Manchester) was released in September, the band had split up. The break up was attributed to Morrissey’s becoming annoyed by Marr’s work with other artists and Marr’s growing frustration with Morrissey’s musical inflexibility. Morrissey claimed the lack of a managerial figure and business problems were to blame for the band’s eventual split. ‘ 1996, Smiths’ drummer Mike Joyce took Morrissey and Marr to court, claiming that he had not received his fair share of recording and performance royalties. Marr and Morrissey have repeatedly stated they will not reunite the band. In 2005, VH1 attempted to get the band back together on its Bands Reunited show but abandoned its attempt. In December 2005 it was announced that Johnny Marr and the Healers would play at Manchester v Cancer, a benefit show for cancer research Rumours suggested that a Smiths reunion would occur at this concert but were dispelled by Marr.

Marr’s guitar playing “was a huge building block” for more Manchester bands that followed The Smiths. The Stone Roses guitarist John Squire has stated that Marr was a major influence.Oasis lead guitarist Noel Gallagher credited The Smiths an influence, especially Marr, also stating that “he’s unique, you can’t play what he plays. Marr has talked about a session that occurred with Paul McCartney shortly after the Smiths’ demise. At the age of only 23, he found himself sharing a mic with the former Beatle on “I Saw Her Standing There”,In August 1987, he was very briefly an official member of the Pretenders. In late 1987, he toured with the band and appeared on the single “Windows of the World” b/w “1969”. He then left the Pretenders, and recorded and toured with The The from 1988 through 1994, recording two albums with the group. He simultaneously formed Electronic with New Order’s Bernard Sumner. Electronic were intermittently active throughout the 1990s, releasing their final album in 1999. In 1992 he recorded a cover version of Ennio Morricone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Fellow Manchester band Happy Mondays also once tried to court him to be a member of their band, He has also worked as a session musician and writing collaborator for artists including Pet Shop Boys, Billy Bragg, Kirsty MacColl ,Black Grape, Jane Birkin, Talking Heads, and Beck. Marr played guitar on several Pet Shop Boys songs; he continues to have guest appearances on their albums, with his most significant contribution on Release (2002). The only remix that Marr has ever done was for the Pet Shop Boys—it was a mix of his favourite track from their 1987 album, Actually, called “I Want to Wake Up”, and was released as the b-side to 1993’s “Can You Forgive Her?” He later worked as a guest musician on the Oasis album Heathen Chemistry. He also joined Oasis on stage at a gig in 2001, playing “Champagne Supernova” and “I Am the Walrus”. In 2000 Marr recruited drummer Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr), Cavewaves guitarist Lee Spencer and ex-Kula Shaker bassist Alonza Bevan for his new project, Johnny Marr and the Healers. Their debut album Boomslang was released in 2003, with all lyrics and lead vocals by Marr. A second album was originally scheduled for release in April 2005. Drummer Starkey is currently involved with the Who, and Bevan has regrouped with Kula Shaker.

In 2001, Marr performed two Smiths songs and music by others with a supergroup called 7 Worlds Collide consisting of members from Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Split Enz and others, assembled by Neil Finn of Split Enz and Crowded House. Marr has also worked as a record producer. In 2006, he began work with Modest Mouse’s on their album’ We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. During 2008, when Modest Mouse opened for R.E.M. , Marr would come on stage during the encore of R.E.M.’s set, Marr and R.E.M.’s guitarist Peter Buck have often been compared by alternative music fans ln January 2008, Marr was reported to have been contributing’ towards songs for indie group The Cribs. He also played with the Cribs on the NME Awards Tour, the NME Big Gig at the O2. and the Reading & Leeds Festival. ln 2009, he recorded an album with the band titled Ignore the Ignorant, In the late 2007, Marr’s daughter Sonny performed backing vocals on the track “Even a Child” on Crowded House’s album Time on Earth, on which her father Marr played guitars. He played a large role in making the score for the 2010 science-fiction/drama film Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Marr has been working since 2007 with Fender to develop and design his own guitar. Marr also released his debut solo album, The Messenger,’In 2012 and his second album Playland in 2014.

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