If the Johnny Marr story had stopped when he was just 23, when he left the Smiths, his place in rock history would have been assured. His jangly pop guitar style was accomplished without being histrionic, showing that a guitarist could be more than a soloist, and he accompanied one of the better songwriters of his time, Morrissey. To see the Smiths as the arch miserabilists of the 1980s would be to discount the level of cheer and buoyancy that Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce bought to the group.

The book starts with Marr’s Childhood, first meeting his future wife Angie at 15 years and his brushes with the law, as well as his earliest jobs working in Manchester clothing shops, whilst putting bands together and seeing them falling apart.

We learn about his first guitars, as well as the first fateful meeting with Morrisey, recruiting the other band members to their cause, and how they built a large following, who saw something of themselves in the song-craft and stage acts that the Smith’s provided for their many fans.

As well as the ups of life in one of the biggest and still most influential Indie pop bands, we also see the downsides, and how Marr seemed to take the blame for the ending of The Smiths, even though there was a lot more going on behind the scenes that the Tabloids and the Music press knew nothing about.

The book also looks at Marr’s second career, as a master guitarist working with a myriad of household names, ranging from Brian Ferry to the Pretenders, Kirsty McColl, and even an afternoon spent with Paul McCartney, and seeking the advice of someone else who also seemed to take the blame for the dissolution of a rock band that spoke to a whole generation.

His most recent musical activity is working with the film composer Hans Zimmer, a completely different sound and style than the one he found on old Rickenbacker in Manchester, before the Smiths were to even release their first songs.

The book is a good read, delving into elements of Marr’s life, showing that there is so much more to this very interesting man, and musician than the legacy that he laid down right at the beginning of his career.