Johnny Marr: I Was F**king Heartbroken When The Smiths Split

6 May 2019, 15:15

The guitarist explains how famous friends like Bernard Sumner “backed him up” when the legendary band ended in 1987.

Johnny Marr has explained how the split of The Smiths left him “devastated”… but that his musical friends got him through it and made him a better person - and songwriter.

Speaking to John Kennedy at the special charity Radio X Presents An Evening Of Conversation With Johnny Marr event last year, Marr explained that the dissolution of the Manchester band in the autumn of 1987 affected him deeply.

“I needed to be around a certain kind of person when The Smiths split,” he said. “You can imagine, I was 24, I was really, really fucking heartbroken."

Morrissey and Johnny Marr of The Smithgs, June 1985
Morrissey and Johnny Marr of The Smithgs, June 1985. Picture: Brian Rasic/Getty Images

“I wasn’t going BYEEE! Jolly up! It was really devastating for me. Because I was forced into it. That’s the simple way of explaining something complicated.”

Following the demise of The Smiths, the first song he wrote was Walking Down Madison, which he recorded with Kirsty MacColl, who had appeared on his old band’s 1986 single Ask. He then found himself briefly a member of The Pretenders with Chrissie Hynde, and then as part of Matt Johnson’s project The The, appearing on their Mind Bomb album in 1989.

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Marr went on: “You can do a lot worse than having Matt Johnson as your mate in London and Bernard Sumner as your mate in Manchester. And Chrissie Hynde and Kirsty MacColl, I had so many good people…

“We all know when we have those amazing people in your lives, you think wow, if I hadn’t had those people I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

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