Johnny Marr: The Smiths and the Art of Gun-Slinging

Johnny Marr: The Smiths and the Art of Gun-Slinging

Richard Carman

Language: English

Pages: 240


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The shimmering, muscular guitar pop of The Smiths shone like a beacon through the eighties as they took up the mantle of the best British band since The Beatles. Their unparalleled musicality inspired a generation of popular bands including Oasis, the Stone Roses and Radiohead. Johnny Marr was the genius behind that revolutionary sound. Manchester-born Marr has proved to be a gun-slinger without equal, a guitarist who rode the longest highways to find the most perfect sounds and who built the gilt-edged frames in which the lyrical portraits of co-writer Morrissey sat so perfectly. Whilst he may well be remembered forever for the haunting intro to 'How Soon Is Now?' Marr has not slowed down creatively, inspiring a generation of younger listeners through his work with The Cribs, and even working with Hans Zimmer on the stunning soundtrack to the critically-acclaimed blockbuster Inception. He remains as influential and important as ever - a true guitar hero. Filled with insight...

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It was a significantly different version to that released as a single, more compact and with a far more prominent ‘live’ feel, and for many fans this version remains the beloved one. ‘These Things Take Time’ had a similar feel – a rough diamond with all its facets evident to the jeweller’s eye before the stone is cut. The track was lifted from the BBC session of July 1983 recorded for David Jensen’s radio show, and again Joyce and Marr drive the track along with immense style and urgency.

the moniker Elkie Brooks, hit pay dirt in the late Seventies with ‘Pearl’s A Singer’ and a run of other hit singles after a stint in Vinegar Joe, a band that also featured Robert Palmer. Thus while he was taking his first, rudimentary steps in guitar craft, the young John Maher had a healthy local culture on which to build his castle. * * * In the early Seventies the Maher family was to move to Baguley, Wythenshaw, a bus ride to the south from the city centre and one of Manchester’s most

the newly-renewed partnership. The former Smiths soundman Grant Showbiz, a long-time working partner with Bragg too, was producing Billy’s album Don’t Try This At Home, and the pair presented Johnny with a number of tracks to elicit his input. “I was in the studio labouring with ‘Sexuality’ which originally sounded a lot more like ‘Louis Louis’ than the track we know and love,” says Billy. “Johnny came down and just kind of got hold of it and played those glittering chords over it, and changed it

fronting the ensemble. Whilst a decade before he had re-iterated his lack of ambition as a front man, now it seemed an inevitability, and he adopted the role with relish. Back in 1989, Johnny had told NME that he never wanted to stand in front of a group: “I know I will never be as popular, sell as many records or be as famous as Morrissey or any other singer I work with… and I don’t want that.” However, in The Healers he took centre stage for the first time. It was also a joint decision between

With his ears constantly on contemporary bands, he was aware of how much his output would be likely to be compared to others too. “It would be undignified for me to try and sound like The Strokes, or Coldplay,” he explained. “God Forbid! I just wanted to make sure the [album] was wide awake, and natural and honest.” The fact that Marr took the microphone and the centre stage for the first time in his adult career signalled that this was a different Johnny Marr altogether from the one we were

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