The autobiography of one the most influential guitarists and artists of all time.
The Sunday Times Bestseller and Winner of the NME Best Book Award 2017
Few groups have had a bigger impact than The Smiths and few musicians are as celebrated as Johnny Marr. He is an icon who defined an era and influenced a generation of guitarists.
His signature sound was crucial to the Smiths success, but tensions within the band led to his departure in 1987 and the end of the group after just four albums. He was twenty-three years old.
Since then, Marr hasn’t stopped pushing the boundaries of music. He joined The Pretenders, The The, Modest Mouse and The Cribs and has collaborated with Hans Zimmer. Here, for the first time, he tells his own side of the story.
Honest, witty, and moving, Set the Boy Free is the true history of music – told by one of its very own legends.
'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
“. . . wise, breezy, supersmart memoir . . . Marr’s defiantly unghostwritten book is pleasant and direct . . .”
“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”
“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.”
“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”
“The perfect book for aspiring musicians”
“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.”
“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”
“His writing is compassionate, courageous and concerned”
“Set The Boy Free tells the ordinary yet fascinating story of arguably one of the most influential guitar players of all time”
“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”
RTÃ? 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”
“Marr’s directness is refreshing”
“A must read for indie fans”
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