The Smiths - Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

The Smiths’ addictively dreamy, danceable sound (Rourke once said he “wouldn’t be happy with a bassline unless you could hum it”), political through lines, and unusual influences buoyed the band, and they signed with Rough Trade in 1983.


Across The Smiths’ classic four-album run (1984's self-titled debut, 1985's Meat Is Murder, 1986's The Queen Is Dead, and 1987's Strangeways, Here We Come), Marr wrote that Rourke “reinvented what it is to be a bass guitar player.” Marr specifically highlights Rourke’s contributions to The Queen Is Dead—which NME named the greatest album of all time in a 2013 list—as “so impressive that I said to myself ‘I’ll never forget this moment.’”

Although The Smiths’ ultimately dissolved in the face of irreconcilable differences between Morrissey and Marr (not to mention drawn-out disagreements over royalties), Rourke played Madison Square Garden with Marr last September, a performance that would be his last. Marr described sharing that stage with Rourke as “a matter of personal pride, as well as sadness.”

Johnny Marr - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out w/ Andy Rourke (The Smiths) October 1st, 2022 MSG

Read Marr’s full statement on Rourke below:

Andy Rourke RIP.

Andy and I met as schoolboys in 1975. We were best friends, going everywhere together. When we were fifteen I moved into his house with him and his three brothers and I soon came to realise that my mate was one of those rare people that absolutely no one doesn’t like.

Andy and I spent all our time studying music, having fun, and working on becoming the best musicians we could possibly be. Back then Andy was a guitar player and a good one at that, but it was when he picked up the bass that he would find his true calling and his singular talent would flourish.

Throughout our teens we played in various bands around South Manchester before making our reputations with The Smiths from 1982 to 1987, and it was on those Smiths records that Andy reinvented what it is to be a bass guitar player.

I was present at every one of Andy’s bass takes on every Smiths session. Sometimes I was there as the producer and sometimes just as his proud mate and cheerleader. Watching him play those dazzling baselines was an absolute privilege and genuinely something to behold. But one time which always comes to mind was when I sat next to him at the mixing desk watching him play his bass on the song The Queen Is Dead. It was so impressive that I said to myself ‘I’ll never forget this moment.’

We maintained our friendship over the years, no matter where we were or what was happening and it is a matter of personal pride as well as sadness that the last time Andy played on stage was with me and my band at Maddison Square Garden in September 2022.

It was a special moment that we shared with my family and his wife and soul mate Francesca.

Andy will always be remembered, as a kind and beautiful soul by everyone who knew him, and as a supremely gifted musician by people who love music.

Well done Andy. We’ll miss you brother.

Johnny x