Johnny Marr has always been a favorite guitarist of mine -- for many reasons. I've been a Smiths fan from the time I first heard Meat Is Murder, circa 1985, and would immediately buy, and put on heavy rotation, every future Smiths album from that point forward. Sometimes I would just focus on Marr's guitar playing as I listened, trying to figure out what the hell he was doing. Much of his work was like nothing I had ever heard. But his technical brilliance is not what makes him a great guitarist, it's his ability to play what's appropriate for the song. He'll provide acoustic guitar chords when that's all the song calls for, he'll provide atmosphere when the guitar should not be out front, he'll provide intricate interest to fill gaps, or he'll just plain rock out when appropriate. Marr always struck me as a brilliant player who cared more about the music than bringing attention to himself. That sits well with me, but if you decide to listen to the full body of his work, Johnny's musicianship will blow you away.
I still remember the sad day I learned that the Smiths had broken up, partly because of Morrissey's inflexibility with Marr's work outside the band, and partly because Marr saw Morrissey as unwilling to expand his musical horizons. The break-up speaks directly to Marr's willingness to experiment and grow. Although I still hope for a Smiths reunion, I must admit, both Morrissey and Marr have given us plenty of good music since they parted ways.
This playlist focuses on Johnny Marr. Specifically, tracks that he's played guitar on -- from his work as a full-fledged band member, to his solo work, to his work as a sideman for a multitude of artists that even the most die-hard Smiths fans may not be aware of.
What have I missed?
Johnny Marr's Guitar
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