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About Johnny Marr


John Martin Marr is an English musician, songwriter and singer. He first achieved fame as the guitarist and co-songwriter of the Smiths, who were active from 1982 to 1987. He has since performed with numerous other bands and embarked on a solo career.


Born in Manchester, to Irish parents, Marr formed his first band at the age of 13. He was part of several bands with Andy Rourke before forming the Smiths with Morrissey in 1982. The Smiths attained commercial success and were critically acclaimed, with Marr's jangle pop guitar style becoming a distinctive part of the band's sound, but separated in 1987 due to personal differences between Marr and Morrissey. Since then, Marr has been a member of the Pretenders, The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse, and the Cribs, and he has become a prolific session musician, working with names such as Kirsty MacColl, Pet Shop Boys, Talking Heads, Bryan Ferry and Hans Zimmer.


Having released an album titled Boomslang in 2003 under the name Johnny Marr and the Healers, Marr released his first solo album, The Messenger, in 2013. His second solo album, Playland, was released in 2014, followed by a third, Call the Comet, in 2018. Marr's autobiography, Set the Boy Free, was published in 2016.


In 2010, Marr was voted the fourth-best guitarist of the last 30 years in a poll conducted by the BBC. Phil Alexander, editor-in-chief of Mojo, described him as "arguably Britain's last great guitar stylist". In 2013, NME honoured Marr with its "Godlike Genius" award: "Not content with rewriting the history of music with one of the world's greatest-ever bands, the Smiths, he's continued to push boundaries and evolve throughout his career, working with some of the best and most exciting artists on the planet."


Marr was born on 31 October 1963 in Saint Mary's Hospital in Manchester, son of John Joseph Maher and Frances Patricia Doyle, Irish emigrants to England from County Kildare. The family lived in Ardwick Green and moved to Wythenshawe in 1972. Marr attended St Aloysius Primary School in Ardwick before moving to Sacred Heart Primary School. From 1975, he attended St Augustine's Catholic Grammar School, which in 1977 merged with other schools to form St John Plessington High School. Marr had aspirations to be a professional football player. He was approached by Nottingham Forest and had trials with Manchester City's youth team.


Marr's said his family's move to Wythenshawe was "like we'd moved to Beverly Hills", and that the move led to him meeting "a bunch of guitar players" which "changed his life". The Cult guitarist Billy Duffy was in a high school band that practised across the street from Marr's new house, and Marr would hang out listening to them rehearsing. He learned to play the guitar with LP vinyl records and a guitar chords dictionary without a teacher. Marr formed his first band, the Paris Valentinos, at the age of 13, with Andy Rourke and Kevin Williams , performing for the first time at a Jubilee party in Benchill in June 1977, playing Rolling Stones and Thin Lizzy covers.


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Johnny Marr", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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