Johnny Marr leaning against a wall
Music

Johnny Marr

Sat 13 Apr 2024
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Legendary member of The Smiths, The The, The Pretenders, Modest Mouse and more celebrating 10 years as a solo artist

At the beginning of 2023, Johnny Marr had all sorts of plans, but marking anniversaries hadn’t figured among them. Fresh from a succession of rapturously received shows with The Killers, Johnny had already started to gather songs for his fifth album – a successor to 2022’s acclaimed double LP Fever Dreams Pts 1-4.

It was Johnny's manager who pointed out that he had now been a solo artist for ten years, a stretch of time comfortably in excess of his tenures in The Smiths, Electronic, The The, The Pretenders, Modest Mouse or The Cribs. And although, Marr’s storied life in music isn’t short of milestones – 2010 Inspiration Award at the Ivor Novellos, an Oscar nomination for his work with Hans Zimmer on Inception; and, lest we forget, an NME Godlike Genius Award in 2013 – he hadn’t stopped to consider that the passing of an entire decade might be significant.

The full measure of this extraordinarily fertile period is captured on Spirit Power: The Best Of Johnny Marr, a major new collection curated by Marr encompassing songs from his solo career. It’s a body of work that mirrors Marr’s unquenchable life force, his love of melody and the urge to resist what he calls the “strummy, age-appropriate transition into mid-tempo middle age.”

He elaborates: “It’s a conversation I have from time to time with [Pet Shop Boys’] Chris Lowe, about how much harder it is to write songs that you want to listen to in the daytime. It’s easier to do something that’s perceived as cool if it’s a bit moody. But, for me, the mission with these records was to make songs that you could listen to on the way to school, on the way to the gym, on the way back from work – you know, in the way that you had with, say, Blondie.”

Presented by AEG