“I wanted to sound like an entire record when I played. Yeah, it’s all kinda of ringy and melodic, and…. There’s a lot of emotion in there, I think. So I …I play that way cause that’s how I feel.”
– Johnny Marr
“I’ve been in the studio with him, and there’s nothing he cannot do on guitar, the man’s a fuckin’ wizard.”
– Noel Gallagher
Johnny Marr (born John Martin Maher; 31 October 1963) is an English musician and songwriter. Marr rose to fame in the 1980s as the guitarist in The Smiths, with whom he formed a prolific songwriting partnership with Morrissey. Marr has been a member of Electronic, The The, and Modest Mouse. In 2008, he joined The Cribs after touring with them on 2008’s NME Awards Tour, a group in which he would remain until 2011.
Marr’s jangly Rickenbacker guitar-playing in The Smiths proved to be popular among other musicians and has influenced many guitarists that followed particularly in the Britpop era.
Marr was voted the fourth best guitarist of the last 30 years in a poll conducted by the BBC in 2010.
He is also an often used session guitarist (Pretenders, Bryan Ferry, Dinosaur Jr. and more)
Here he tries to explain his very distinct playing style:
“Rolling Stone Magazine voted him at 51 when making a list of the 100 best guitarists of all time:
“The Smiths’ guitarist was a guitar genius for the post-punk era: not a showboating soloist, but a technician who could sound like a whole band. As a kid studying Motown records, Johnny Marr would try to replicate not just guitar riffs but piano and strings too, all with his right hand. His voluptuous arpeggios – often played on a chiming Rickenbacker with incredible flow and detailing – were every bit as essential to the Smiths’ signature sound as Morrissey’s baritone. And he was a tireless explorer: For 1983’s “This Charming Man,” Marr dropped knives onto a ’54 Telecaster, a revelatory incident that Radiohead may have been alluding to in their Smiths-inspired “Knives Out.” “He was a brilliant rhythm player, rarely played solos, so full of sounds,” said Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien – part of an entire generation of British guitarists who took their cues from Marr…” Read more
He should have been much higher on the list of course, but great praise anyway.
The Smiths, Big Mouth Strikes Again:
Happy birthday, Johnny Marr!
Album of the day, The Queen is dead by The Smiths:
Other 31 october: