Set the Boy Free
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Set the Boy Free

4.15 (646 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"I saw Johnny Marr live in person, with The Smiths. He was light on his feet; like quicksilver. He caused the band to swing like crazy. And he smoked his cigarette like a star. I've been influenced ever since." (Iggy Pop). Johnny Marr was born in 1960s Manchester to Irish emigrant parents and knew from an early age that he would be a musician. Forming his first band at thirteen, Marr spent his teenage years on the council estates of Wythenshawe playing guitar, devouring pop culture and inventing his own musical style. It wasn't until the early eighties, when Marr turned up on the doorstep of a singer named Steven Patrick Morrissey, that both a unique songwriting partnership and the group recognised as one of the most iconic bands of all time were formed. In 1983 The Smiths released their first single, and within a year their eponymous debut album reached number two in the UK chart, paving the way for mainstream and critical success on their own terms. For Marr, tensions within the band and desire for a wider musical scope led to his departure from The Smiths in 1987, ensuring the end of one of the most influential British groups of a generation. But this was just the beginning for Marr. From forming Electronic and The Healers to playing with Bryan Ferry, Talking Heads, Kirsty MacColl, Pet Shop Boys, Billy Bragg, Nile Rodgers and Bert Jansch. From joining The Pretenders, The The, Modest Mouse and The Cribs to recently collaborating with Hans Zimmer and receiving acclaim and worldwide success in his own right as a solo artist, Marr has never stopped. Here, for the first time, he tells his own side of the story. From roaming the streets of Manchester to constantly pushing musical boundaries as the most loved guitarist Britain has ever produced, Johnny Marr's memoir is the true history of music - told by one of its very own legends.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 464 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 41mm | 812g
  • Cornerstone
  • CENTURY
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1780894325
  • 9781780894324
  • 6,015

Review quote

"... wise, breezy, supersmart memoir ... Marr's defiantly unghostwritten book is pleasant and direct ..." Guardian "An unpretentious, clearly written memoir recounting his journey from a working-class upbringing on the outskirts of Manchester to his status as a musical polymath" The Times "Set the Boy Free - a telling title again - is much more than an obituary for a brilliant band. It's also a love letter to the women in Marr's life ... and a guide on how to keep changing and moving on with your creative life." The Observer "It is a pleasure ... to read a memoir by a five-star guitar hero that ... present[s] a particular life in rock as one of pure, disarming joy and open possibility" New Statesman "Excellent" The Sun "Set the Boy Free is a trip down memory lane featuring the all-star cast that Marr has rubbed shoulders with ... and it will likely serve as a guidebook to anyone who's ever dreamed about picking up the guitar and trying their hand at making music for a living because, at its heart, Set the Boy Free is written by a music fan for music fans." Esquire "His sweetly and deceptively simple account of his lively youth and The Smith's early, joyous years ... will touch many" Mail on Sunday "Grounded and positive" MOJO "His writing is compassionate, courageous and concerned" Gigwise "Set The Boy Free tells the ordinary yet fascinating story of arguably one of the most influential guitar players of all time" The Pool "An excellent memoir... Stars don't come much brighter than Johnny Marr ... And it's a pleasure to hear the story from the man himself" Manchester Evening News "Smiths fans will love it for the insight into the songs ... He is relentlessly upbeat and positive" RTE Radio Arena Show "Set The Boy Free aims to set the record straight on the story of one of rock's most contentious break-ups" Hot Press "Marr's directness is refreshing" AV Club "A must read for indie fans" Vive le Rock "An excellent memoir... Stars don't come much brighter than Johnny Marr ... And it's a pleasure to hear the story from the man himself" Manchester Evening News "Entertaining and enlightening" Irish Independent "Marr's unrelenting positivity leaves the reader with a reassuringly feel-good glow" Irish Timesshow more

About Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr is a musician and songwriter. Between 1982 and 1987 he was the guitarist and co-founder of The Smiths. He is now an established solo artist who has released two albums, The Messenger and Playland, to date. He currently lives in Manchester.show more

Review Text

"Marr’s unrelenting positivity leaves the reader with a reassuringly feel-good glow"show more

Back cover copy

Johnny Marr was born in 1960s Manchester to Irish emigrant parents and knew from an early age that he would be a musician. Forming his first band at thirteen, Marr spent his teenage years on the council estates of Wythenshawe playing guitar, devouring pop culture and inventing his own musical style. It wasn't until the early eighties, when Marr turned up on the doorstep of a singer named Steven Patrick Morrissey, that both a unique songwriting partnership and the group recognised as one of the most iconic bands of all time were formed. In 1983 The Smiths released their first single, and within a year their eponymous debut album reached number two in the UK chart, paving the way for mainstream and critical success on their own terms. For Marr, tensions within the band and desire for a wider musical scope led to his departure from The Smiths in 1987, marking the end of one of the most influential British groups of a generation. But this was just the beginning for Marr. From forming Electronic and The Healers to playing with Bryan Ferry, Talking Heads, Kirsty MacColl, Pet Shop Boys, Billy Bragg, Nile Rogers and Bert Jansch. From joining The Pretenders, The The, Modest Mouse and The Cribs to recently collaborating with Hans Zimmer and receiving acclaim and worldwide success in his own right as a solo artist, Marr has never stopped. Here, for the first time, he tells his own side of the story. From roaming the streets of Manchester to constantly pushing musical boundaries as the most loved guitarist Britain has ever produced, Johnny Marr’s memoir is the true history of music - told by one of its very own legends.show more

Rating details

646 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 37% (239)
4 44% (283)
3 17% (110)
2 2% (10)
1 1% (4)
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