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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Smiths bassist Andy Rourke dies at 59

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Indie legend The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke has died at the age of 59.

Guitarist Johnny Marr announced the news on social media.

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Andy will be remembered by those who knew him as a kind and beautiful soul, and by music fans as a most talented musician. We ask for privacy at this sad time.

Rourke played the Smiths’ catalog of classic back-to-back hits, including such hits as This Charming Man and There Is a Light That Never Goes. Both are excellent examples of his often bold melodic style, and are frontman Morrissey’s solo songs after the group broke up.

He also played with two other prominent Manchester bass guitarists, Peter Hook of New Order and Gem of the Stone Roses, in the supergroup Freebass, which recorded with Sinead O’Connor, The Pretenders, Ian Brown and Dark with the Cranberry singers Dolores. . Group. O’Riordan.

The Smiths formed in 1982 around a partnership between Marr and Morrissey. Bassist Steve Pomfret joined and was replaced by Dale Hibbert, who had played the Smiths’ first gig, but was then replaced by Rourke, Marr’s classmate since age 11. formed Freak Party, an early short-lived band.

Marr said in a written tribute to Rourke, “We were best friends and we went everywhere together.” “When we were 15, I moved into his house with him and his three brothers and soon realized that my husband was one of those rare people no one liked. Andy and I spend all of our time studying music, having fun, and being the best musicians we can be.

Smith in What Difference Does It Make? It established the original sound of the Smiths. Tracks such as Morrissey’s troubled vocals, Marr’s complex, ringing lead guitar, Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce’s intense, technically accomplished rhythm section, Rourke exchanging melodic interplay with Marr, and Barbarism Begins at Home – playing solo But funky bass.

The defining sound of British indie music was still in the 1980s, resulting in four classic albums and acclaimed solo singles: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder, The Queen Is Dead, Strangeways and Here We Come.

Rourke struggled with heroin use and was arrested in 1986 for possession. He was fired from the band and rejoined two weeks later (his brief replacement, Craig Gannon, remained with the band briefly and moved to rhythm guitar). “You start making a lot of money and you don’t know what to do with. You start spending it on drugs,” Rourke later said.

Marr left in 1987 and the band split up shortly after. Luke said in 2022, “When he left, the impact was huge and we were all shocked, and I probably still am.” “Nobody knew how to react. I didn’t know whether to call him or leave him alone. It was a really horrible, horrible time for everyone involved.”

Rourke performed such Morrissey singles as The Last of the Famous International Playboys and Interesting Drug in 1989. Joyce looked back, “It was a big shock to Johnny… It’s been a while since I thought I betrayed him. Before we spoke again.”

Rourke and Joyce took Morrissey and Marr to court in 1989, arguing that they should receive an equal share of their earnings, as each of them earned only 10% of the group’s performing and recording royalties. Rourke immediately agreed to a lump sum of £83,000, and Joyce continued the lawsuit, receiving around £1m in retroactive royalties, then 25%. The case is notable for the judge describing Morrissey as “vile, cruel and untrustworthy”. Rourke later filed for bankruptcy in 1999.

As well as the above collaborations, Rourke later played with another popular Mancunian musician, Badgley Drowned Boy, and joined his touring band. His most recent project was Blitz Vega, a band with Kav Sandhu of Happy Mondays.

Swede bassist Matt Osman has praised Rourke online, describing him as “an absolute one-off – a rare bassist whose sound is instantly recognisable”.

Marr’s accolades continued. But one thing I’ll always remember was sitting next to him at the mixing desk watching him play bass on The Queen Is Dead. It was so touching that I said to myself, ‘I will never forget this moment’.

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