The playing of a guitar, 6 or 12 string, electric or acoustic, is an art form tried by millions, achieved by 1000’s, perfected by a few chosen souls. One of these few perfectionists is Johnny Marr.
A chunky new book, Marr’s Guitars published via Thames and Hudson Ltd, details the journey Marr has been on since he was first allowed a guitar to be placed on his lap aged 13, which would then allow this maker of genius chord structures to go on to create timeless pieces of music along with purchasing some of the most eye catching guitars the world has to give.
You know the story Morrissey and Marr formed The Smiths, their 5 year period producing some of the greatest musical anthems ever committed to record, splitting at the height of their powers Marr would go on to play with the likes of THE THE, Electronic with New Orders Bernard Sumner, later joining forces with The Cribs and Modest House. There’s a multitude of session work too with the likes of Chrissie Hynde and Kirsty MacColl, film soundtracks which include Hand Zimmer, Bond theme with Billie Eilish and a Spider Man score with soul giant Pharrell Williams. The list could go on and will no doubt keep going on.
In these pages are many guitars that you will be familiar with through his work with The Smiths, like the 12 string Gibson he played on The Tube performing with The Smiths Sheila Take A Bow that now resides with friend Bernard Butler or there’s the Les Paul he famously gave to a down and out Manchester kid called Noel Gallagher who was on the dole at the time performing with his band Oasis who would go on to smash the hallowed guitar on stage and then ‘borrow’ another of Marr’s Les Paul guitars. These 2 guitars are no doubt familiar to miliions but there are even more treasure splayed out in these richly entertaining pages.
Mid book there’s a firmly intriguing interview with Martin Kelly who released a book of his own on the Rickenbacker, Marr’s own collection adorns these Byrds sound guitars, Kellys interview reaches deep into the Marr memory bank including touching accounts of his sadly departed friend Andy Rouke.
There are loads of sumptuous anecdotes from Marr laid through the lavishly decorated pages, pictures of the guitars are striking, drinking deep into the soul of each instrument, you can only marvel and dream of owning such items, the likeable thing with the book is that a normal kid from Manchester in Marr has gone on to own these highly sought after musical items, making the dreams of children to become the next Marr a firm reality.
Marr’s Guitars can be purchased via the following link