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Set the Boy Free Audiobook

Set the Boy Free

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Publisher's Summary

Johnny Marr was born in 1960s Manchester to Irish immigrant parents and knew from an early age that he would be a musician.

Forming his first band at 13, Marr spent his teenage years on the council estates of Wythenshawe playing guitar, devouring pop culture and inventing his own musical style. It wasn't until the early '80s, when Marr turned up on the doorstep of a singer named Steven Patrick Morrissey, that both a unique songwriting partnership and the group recognised as one of the most iconic bands of all time were formed.

In 1983 The Smiths released their first single, and within a year their eponymous debut album reached number two in the UK chart, paving the way for mainstream and critical success on their own terms. For Marr, tensions within the band and desire for a wider musical scope led to his departure from The Smiths in 1987, ensuring the end of one of the most influential British groups of a generation.

But this was just the beginning for Marr. From forming Electronic and The Healers to playing with Bryan Ferry, Talking Heads, Kirsty MacColl, Pet Shop Boys, Billy Bragg, Nile Rodgers and Bert Jansch to joining The Pretenders, Modest Mouse and The Cribs to recently collaborating with Hans Zimmer and receiving acclaim and worldwide success in his own right as a solo artist, Marr has never stopped. Here, for the first time, he tells his own side of the story. From roaming the streets of Manchester to constantly pushing musical boundaries as the most loved guitarist Britain has ever produced, Johnny Marr's memoir is the true history of music - told by one of its very own legends.

©2016 Johnny Marr (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.8 (74 )
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  •  
    C. Cameron Dunfermline, Scotland 04/11/2016
    C. Cameron Dunfermline, Scotland 04/11/2016

    Mr C

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "exactly as you would expect from Johnny Marr..."

    Loved it. Straight talking storytelling from Johnny Marr, reminiscing about his time in all these great bands. Finally hearing his side of the Smiths story.

    A man who has stuck to his principles his whole career and continues to deliver fresh music to this day.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JulianLa Manchester, UK 10/11/2016
    JulianLa Manchester, UK 10/11/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "this guys a class act, Highly Recommended"

    brilliant deliverance from Johnny who actually put the time in to deliver his brilliant autobiography.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EDWARD KELLY 08/11/2016
    EDWARD KELLY 08/11/2016
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    "Thanks Johnny"

    I'm lucky enough to have been around for the whole journey. Great read, great music, great values, great man...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs Dolan Norfolk 07/11/2016
    Mrs Dolan Norfolk 07/11/2016 Member Since 2014
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    "For the love of the guitar"

    Brilliantly captures what it means to love music and to live for it. The only thing that stopped me listening was pausing to listen to each Smiths/The The/Modest Mouse/Johnny Marr album after listening to Johnny's description of making it. Will rekindle anyone's love of guitar riffs: There IS a light that never goes out.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drama Dave 27/11/2016
    Drama Dave 27/11/2016
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    "Better than Mozzer's"

    loved it. Great narration. no frills. to the point. The definitive smiths story. In your face johnny rogan

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Serck Berkshire, England 17/11/2016
    L. Serck Berkshire, England 17/11/2016 Member Since 2013
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    "Ruddy Marr-velous"

    This is an absolutely brilliant journey through the life and times of Johnny Marr, read by the man himself. As well as finding out about how he started out and how The Smiths formed (and why it turned ugly), Marr offers an insight into the drive and ambition and unadulterated passion needed to succeed in a craft. His writing style is pure and honest; miles better than the trumped up over-hammed nonsense written by Morrissey in his autobiography, which he doesn't even bother to narrate himself. Marr's book is a must-read for any music fan.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The i-MC Akeley, United Kingdom 03/12/2016
    The i-MC Akeley, United Kingdom 03/12/2016 Member Since 2013
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    "Compelling."
    Where does Set the Boy Free rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Right up there with the best, beautifully narrated by Johnny, very open and honest.


    What other book might you compare Set the Boy Free to, and why?

    It's unique - and I have a fine collection of music books.


    What does Johnny Marr bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    A certain warmth - and the intensity that made the Smiths the soundtrack of that era of my youth.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No - I wanted it to last a long time tho'...


    Any additional comments?

    Yes. I read one review that complained that the delivery was 'monotone' - I totally disagree; Johnny Marr is Johnny Marr - a very intense, quite private creative genius, not a thespian. He's Northern - that's part of his charm. It's a fantastic story, (I'm mid-way thru'), you will warm to Johnny, and as an artist - he is right up there. Great insight into the creative process too. Much more enjoyable than when I listened to Morrissey's book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Duncan Beiley 26/11/2016
    Duncan Beiley 26/11/2016 Member Since 2015
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    "Absolutely brilliant"

    From a 13 year old boy hearing hand in glove and watching what difference does it make on TOTP I have always loved Johnny Marr ... to have his book read to me by the man himself was truly amazing :) thanks Audible

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew T. 10/11/2016
    Andrew T. 10/11/2016 Member Since 2010

    wildorange

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    "Painful to listen to...."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    ...the narrator.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Set the Boy Free?

    Switching off at the end.

    I enjoyed the story for the most part though there is nothing particularly outstanding about the story.

    Some of the information about Marr's time in The Smiths (and it is a tiny proportion of his life; even of his musical life) is fascinating if you are a Smiths fan. Likewise it is enjoyable to hear more about his time working with The The and Modest Mouse.

    But there isn't anything that takes his story above any of the hundreds and hundreds of music (auto)biographies I've read in the last 20 years.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Totally. For me at least.

    I've heard Marr interviewed several times and he speaks perfectly well and is articulate and modestly engaging.

    But, like many people, he cannot narrate. There is a skill to it. Marr is undoubtedly an inventive guitar player and fabulous songwriter but he cannot narrate. He spoke too fast. He was monotonal. It was painful to listen to for more than 30 minutes at a time.


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Pay for a good narrator.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Endre
    10/11/16
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    "Absolutely Magnificent"

    What a great 'read' this is. A unique and magnifying tour inside Johnny Marrs life and mind guided by himself and in his own words and voice. It gives an honest and thorough insight to his professional life and career, and also a great perspective on his musical achievements that started with the Smiths and has stayed curios and vibrant ever since. A must read for music lovers!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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