Johnny Marr

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Chart positions
Explanation of the data
The Messenger
  UK 10 03/09/2013 (4 weeks)
  US 86 03/16/2013 (1 week)
  UK 9 October 18, 2014 (3 weeks)
  US 153 10/25/2014 (1 week)
Adrenalin Baby - Live
  UK 96 11/26/2015 (1 week)
Call the Comet
  DE 58 06/22/2018 (1 week)
  CH 82 06/24/2018 (1 week)
  UK 7th 06/28/2018 (2 weeks)
Bangin 'On (with The Healers)
  UK 78 01/02/2003 (1 week)
Johnny Marr (2012)

Johnny Marr (* 31 October 1963 as John Martin Maher in Manchester ) is an English musician . Marr became known in the eighties as a guitarist and, alongside Morrissey , songwriter for the style-defining indie rock band The Smiths .


Marr grew up in Manchester. He learned to play the guitar from the Manchester musician and later The Cult guitarist Billy Duffy . He adopted his stage name because his maiden name Maher was repeatedly mispronounced and the drummer of the Buzzcocks was also called John Maher.

He first played in the bands Sister Ray and Freaky Party before founding the Smiths in 1982 together with singer Morrissey . After five hugely successful years and four studio albums, he unexpectedly left the band: In addition to various disputes with Morrissey, the style of the band was too retracted for him. The live performances also took him physically: he lost a lot of weight and had to vomit from nervousness at times before live performances. Marr's abrupt exit from the band ultimately led to the Smiths being broken up.

After the end of the Smiths, Marr played in various productions and bands, for example with the Talking Heads , the Pretenders or Kirsty MacColl . He was a permanent member of The The from 1988 to 1994. Together with Bernard Sumner , Marr founded his own band again with Electronic . The project released three albums between 1989 and 1999. He also worked with Neil Finn on the 7 Worlds Collide project in 1998 .

After the last studio album by Electronic in 1999, Marr put together his own backing band and was also the singer and songwriter of his own project for the first time. He went on tour with Johnny Marr's Healers . Members included Alonza Bevan from Kula Shaker and Ringo Starr's son Zac Starkey. An album completed in 2000, originally titled Play Tumb , did not find a label for publication. In 2003 it was published under the title Boomslang . During this time he was also involved as a producer for the newcomers Haven , who moved from Cornwall to Manchester and were discovered by Smiths manager Joe Moss. With his help, the band created two albums that were also successful in the charts.

After this phase, Johnny Marr joined other groups again in the second half of the 2000s, playing with Modest Mouse from 2006 to 2008 and with the Cribs from 2009 to 2011 . An album with his participation was also created.

The band time followed again the desire to put his own ideas into practice musically. He retired to his hometown of Manchester and began work on his first real solo album. It was partially recorded in Berlin, and it was mixed in the Abbey Road Studios in London . The Messenger was completed in 2013 and reached number 10 in the UK album charts after its release and is considered by critics to be a successful return to his time with The Smiths.

Marr has been vegan since his time at The Smiths .

From April 6 to June 5, 2016, Marr accompanied the German film composer Hans Zimmer at a few selected concerts on his live film music tour through Europe. There he took over the role of the electric guitarist.


During his time with the Smiths, Johnny Marr was known for playing guitars like the Rickenbacker , the Stratocaster or a Gibson Les Paul . The Rickenbackers in particular were often wrongly blamed for Marr's typical sound. In fact, in the studio it was mainly Telecasters and, more rarely, SGs , although he later used these two models more often live. During his time at Modest Mouse, he used a Fender Jaguar . Modified after his adjustments, a signature model of this guitar was released in 2012 , which is very popular because of its changes, which are often considered useful.

The Rolling Stone listed Marr at 51st of the 100 best guitarists and together with Morrissey at 67 of the 100 best songwriters of all time .


Solo albums

  • 2013: The Messenger
  • 2014: Playland
  • 2015: Adrenalin Baby - Live
  • 2018: Call the Comet

Albums with bands with Johnny Marr as a regular member

Only those bands are listed that Johnny Marr was a regular member of. He was also involved in many other productions.

With The Smiths

  • 1984: The Smiths
  • 1984: Hatful of Hollow
  • 1985: Meat Is Murder
  • 1986: The Queen Is Dead
  • 1986: The World Won't Listen (Compilation)
  • 1987: Louder Than Bombs (compilation)
  • 1987: Strangeways, Here We Come
  • 1988: Rank (Live)
  • 1992: Best ... I (compilation)
  • 1992: ... Best II (compilation)
  • 1995: Singles (Compilation)
  • 2003: The Very Best of the Smiths (Compilation)

With The

  • 1989: Mind Bomb
  • 1992: Dusk

With electronics

  • 1991: Electronic
  • 1996: Raise the Pressure
  • 1999: Twisted Tenderness

With Johnny Marr & the Healers

  • 2003: Boomslang

With Modest Mouse

  • 2007: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

With The Cribs

  • 2009: Ignore the Ignorant



  1. a b Chart sources: DE CH UK US
  2. The Cult / Billy Duffy ( Memento of the original from April 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Profile at Gretsch Guitars, accessed March 8, 2013 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. a b Read more at , New Musical Express, November 19, 2012
  4. ^ Haven , band biography at Allmusic, accessed March 8, 2013
  5. Johnny Marr announces plans to join 'Inception' composer Hans Zimmer on the road , New Musical Express, February 22, 2016
  6. ^ Fender Johnny Marr Signature Jaguar Guitar Review , Charles Saufley, Premier Guitar, May 2012
  7. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 18, 2015, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  8. The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. Rolling Stone , August 2015, accessed August 7, 2017 .

Web links