Johnny Marr (born John Martin Maher; 31 October 1963) is an English musician, songwriter and singer. Between 1982 and 1987 he was the guitarist and – with Morrissey – co-songwriter of The Smiths, an English rock band formed in Manchester. Critics have called them the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s. Q magazine’s Simon Goddard argued in 2007 that the Smiths were “the most influential British guitar group of the decade” and the “first indie outsiders to achieve mainstream success on their own terms”. NME named The Smiths the “most influential artist ever” in a 2002 poll, even topping The Beatles.
Marr has also been a member of Electronic, an alternative dance supergroup formed with New Order singer and guitarist Bernard Sumner; The The, an English musical and multimedia group led by singer/songwriter Matt Johnson; Modest Mouse, an American indie rock band formed in 1993 in Issaquah, Washington; and The Cribs, an English three-piece indie rock band originally from Wakefield, West Yorkshire. As well, he has worked as a prolific session musician. In 2013, he released a solo album titled The Messenger (2013).
In 2013, NME honoured Marr with its “Godlike Genius” award, hailing him: “Not content with rewriting the history of music with one of the world’s greatest ever bands, the Smiths, he’s continued to push boundaries and evolve throughout his career, working with some of the best and most exciting artists on the planet.” He was voted the fourth best guitarist of the last 30 years in a poll conducted by the BBC in 2010. Phil Alexander, Editor-in-Chief of Mojo, has described Marr as “arguably Britain’s last great guitar stylist”.