10 Smith's Songs That Prove Why Johnny Marr is a Wizard on the Guitar
Updated: Jun 6
"You cannot be influenced by Johnny Marr because he's unique, because you cant play what he plays, even he can't play what he plays." - Noel Gallagher (2000)
When asked, "how hard is it to play like Johnny Marr?" Noel Gallagher, of Oasis replied, "It's impossible, you can't. If you're making a record and the producer says to try some of that Johnny Marr stuff, well, you better get him on the phone and get him down here, because you can't do it, the man's a f-cking wizard, there's nothing he cannot do on a guitar."
When we think of guitar gods, the names that almost always come to mind are Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Duane Allman, etc. One guy that is usually looked over and never gets the proper recognition he deserves is Johnny Marr of The Smiths. Imagine being 24 years old and you've already completed the defining work of your career. Johnny Marr was only 19 years old when he formed the legendary Manchester indie band that would only stick around for 5 years before internal conflict with the band's vocalist, Morrissey and lack of a proper managerial figure would subsequently result in Marr's departure from the band. I'm lucky enough to have seen him live twice and left both shows with my jaw dragging along the floor.
Johnny Marr has pissed me off on many occasions; his riffs and licks sound so simplistic and so easy to play, but it's next to impossible. Trying to play his stuff on the guitar is the most demoralizing and discouraging thing any guitar player could ever do, and here are 10 of his songs from
The Smiths that prove exactly why he's as great as he is, let your ears show you.
The best way to describe The Smiths is that they are the perfect Yin and Yang band. With the combination of Johnny Marr's uplifting, uptempo guitar playing paired with Morrissey's depressing and dispiriting lyrics courtesy of his literary background as an author, delivered in his baritone voice. The two of them paired together created the perfect musical balance of light and dark.
1. I Want the One I Can't Have
2. William, It Was Really Nothing
3. This Charming Man
4. Bigmouth Strikes Again
5. The Headmaster Ritual
6. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
7. Nowhere Fast
8. Still Ill
9. Girl Afraid
10. Some Girls are Bigger Than Others