Dr. (honorary) Johnny Marr (born John Martin Maher; 31 October 1963) is a British musician. Marr is most famous for his guitar work in The Smiths.
Johnny was born John Martin Maher, and was called Johnny from a young age to differentiate between his father and him. Johnny would later legally change his surname to Marr, to avoid confusion with Buzzcocks drummer John Maher.
Johnny befriended Andy Rourke at age 11 in primary school. They formed a short-lived band named Freak Party, and Johnny encouraged Rourke to try on bass. After forming The Smiths with Morrissey, Johnny invited Rourke to replace Dale Hibbert on bass, after Hibbert was deemed unsuitable for the band.
By February 1984, The Smiths' fanbase was sufficiently large to launch the band's long-awaited eponymous debut album to number two in the UK chart. Early in 1985 the band released their second album, Meat Is Murder. This was more strident and political than its predecessor, and it was the band's only album (barring compilations) to reach number one in the UK charts. During 1985 the band completed lengthy tours of the UK and the US while recording the next studio record, The Queen Is Dead. In 1989 Spin magazine rated The Queen Is Dead as number one of "The Greatest Albums Ever Made". Spin was not alone in this designation—numerous periodicals rank The Smiths and their albums, especially 'The Queen Is Dead', high on their best ever lists. NME, for example, has dubbed the Smiths the most important rock band of all time.
Tensions began to present in the band. A legal dispute with Rough Trade delayed the release of The Queen Is Dead by nearly 7 months. Marr was beginning to bow under the pressure of the exhaustive touring and commitments, and turned to drinking (Remy Martin brandy by his account). "'Worse for wear' wasn't the half of it: I was extremely ill. By the time the tour actually finished it was all getting a little bit... dangerous. I was just drinking more than I could handle." He later told NME.
Despite the continued and growing success of the band, personal difference between the band members reached breaking point, especially between Marr and Morrissey. Marr took a vacation from the band in 1987, but left permanently after thinking that the NME article "Smiths to Split" was planted by Morrissey. Auditions to replace him resulted in the hiring of Ivor Perry. Morrissey was not pleased, refusing to co-operate with Perry. The band split not long after.
Marr has been a visiting professor of music for the University of Salford, since 2007. He was conferred a honourary doctorate on the 6th of July, 2012.
- Portlandia (as himself, 2012)