Johnny Marr (the Smiths)
Johnny Marr was born John Martin Maher on 31 October, 1963. He was a British guitarist, keyboardist, harmonica player and singer, and is best known as the man behind the music of The Smiths. Like many Mancunians - including his former band-mates in The Smiths - he was raised as a Catholic and is of Irish descent; his parents emigrated from County Kildare to Ardwick in the 1950s. Earlier in his career, Johnny Marr was a member of the Wythenshawe stalwarts, ‘The Paris Valentinos’.
In 1982, Marr began writing songs with Steven Morrissey, after forming The Smiths with him. To complete the lineup, they recruited Mike Joyce on drums and Dale Hibbert on bass guitar. After two gigs, Hibbert was replaced by Marr's friend Andy Rourke. By then, Morrissey had dropped his first name and Maher had changed his name to Marr to avoid confusion with the Buzzcocks drummer.
Having achieved commercial and critical success with landmark albums such as 'The Queen is Dead', The Smiths were soon stars in The U.K. and Ireland, but never enjoyed the same amount of success elsewhere. This success would not be met while the band was still together; Marr eventually left the band due to his frustrations with Morrissey, stemming from Morrissey's infatuation with 1960's pop artists such as Cilla Black.
From The Smiths' year of inception to the breakup of the band 5 years later in 1987, Marr and Morrissey co-wrote enough material for 4 albums, as well as numerous B-sides and other unreleased materials that eventually appeared on one compilation or another. Today, the Morrissey-Marr songwriting duo is held in the highest esteem among critics and fans alike, due to Morrissey's groundbreaking lyrics and Marr's highly melodic and harmonious music.