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Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr University of Salford 2012 crop.jpg
Background information
Birth name John Martin Maher
Born 31 October 1963 (1963-10-31) (age 58)
Manchester, England
Genres Alternative rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, guitarist
Instruments Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Harmonica, Mandolin, Harmonium
Years active 1982 - present
Labels Various
Associated acts The Smiths, Electronic, Johnny Marr and The Healers, Modest Mouse, The The, The Cribs

Johnny Marr (born John Martin Maher; 31 October 1963) is an English musician, songwriter and singer, best known as the guitarist and – with Morrissey – co-songwriter of the Smiths, who were active from 1982 to 1987.

Born in Ardwick, Manchester, to Irish parents, Marr formed his first band at the age of 13. He was part of several bands along with Andy Rourke before forming the Smiths with Morrissey in 1982. The Smiths attained great success and were critically acclaimed, with Marr's guitar style becoming distinctive of the band's sound, but separated in 1987.

Since then, Marr has been a member of the Pretenders, The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse and the Cribs, and has become a prolific session musician, working with names such as Talking Heads and Hans Zimmer. He released his first solo album, titled The Messenger, in 2013, followed by his second, Playland, in 2014. His autobiography, Set the Boy Free, was published in 2016. His third solo album, Call the Comet, was released on 15 June 2018.

Voted the fourth best guitarist of the last 30 years in a poll conducted by the BBC in 2010, Phil Alexander, editor-in-chief of Mojo, has described Marr as "arguably Britain's last great guitar stylist". In 2013, NME honoured Marr with its "Godlike Genius" award, hailing him: "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."

He is an honorary board member of Rock for Kids. On 19 July 2012, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford for "outstanding achievements" and "changing the face of British guitar music".

Early life

Marr was born John Martin Maher in Ardwick, Manchester. The family moved to Wythenshawe in 1972. 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.

At the age of 13, Marr's family moved him to a new neighbourhood in Manchester where he met up with "a bunch of guitar players" which "changed his life". The Cult guitarist Billy Duffy was in a high school band that practiced across the street from Marr's new house, and Marr would hang out listening to them rehearsing. Marr formed his first band, the Paris Valentinos, at the age of 13, performing for the first time at a Jubilee party in Benchill in June 1977, playing Rolling Stones and Thin Lizzy covers.

Personal life

Marr and his wife Angie have been together since 1979, before the Smiths formed. They have two children, Sonny and Nile Marr; Nile is also a musician, best known as the frontman of the band Man Made. Having resided in Portland, Oregon, for more than five years, the family returned to Britain for Marr to record his solo album in Manchester. Marr is a keen runner, and completed the 2010 New York Marathon in a time of 3:54:18. He is a supporter of Manchester City football club and has been seen attending games.

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