This was the first Smiths album I heard, before I had a guitar. Along with the guitarists I’ve previously mentioned, Johnny Marr is the final of the four J’s, with John Squire, J Mascis and Jimi Hendrix that were my first major influences. I just love it as a collection of songs, a mixture of singles, B sides and radio sessions. I like these radio session versions of some of the songs more than the original studio cuts. Songs like What Difference Does It Make and Handsome Devil sounding tougher more stripped down. The Peel Session version of Still Ill is beautiful. This album also has How Soon is Now which is of my favourite songs of all time. When I was learning guitar and started listening again to The Smiths I began to realise how incredible Johnny Marr is as a guitarist, writer and arranger. Johnny is a true original, no one sounds like him or can play him. Sure he has influences, but doesn’t sound like any of them. A master of layering guitars, but as can be heard on this album, equally a master of playing it raw and stripped down. A huge inspiration as player and person.   

For number 10 in Little Barrie’s top 10 please go here

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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