Set the Boy Free

Narrated by: Johnny Marr
Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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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

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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!

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  • Craig C
  • 11-04-16

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • L. Serck
  • 11-17-16

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs Dolan
  • 11-07-16

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • EDWARD KELLY
  • 11-08-16

Thanks Johnny

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Drama Dave
  • 11-27-16

Better than Mozzer's

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • JulianLa
  • 11-10-16

this guys a class act, Highly Recommended

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • A. J. Wylde
  • 02-06-17

Dull

Hard to believe that this story could be so boring to listen to but it managed it. Johnny sounds half asleep which is fair enough considering the material. If you like things described as cool and good a lot then this is for you. So very disappointing considering the author is simply a genius.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. A. Gibson
  • 03-19-20

Loved it

Great story from a rock n roll legend.. Wasn't into the smiths but now loving listening to Johnny marrs guitar on some classic songs

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  • A Tasker-lynch
  • 11-30-19

Enjoyable Listen

It took me a while to listen to this after buying it on Audible but I really enjoyed it once it got going. Much better than Morrissey's autobiography and touched on all areas of Johnny Marr's life and career.

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  • suzanne maccallum
  • 11-27-19

enjoyable listen

well read, good dynamic flow. I'm not the biggest Smiths fan but was great to go back to the 80s n 90s and lovely to read about Johnny's love of his instrument, and the professionalism he has in what he does.

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  • Gregory McNulty
  • 01-06-19

A good read

Great read (listen). While I was a huge fan of The Smith's I was completely ignorant of the individuals. I read Set the boy free after reading Morrissey's autobiography so that I could get an opposing view of why The Smith's split. In this book Johnny Marr comes as across as not only a forgiving character but also as an incredibly passionate muso totally committed to his craft. Marr narrates the story and gets the message across succinctly and informative lunch.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-17-18

Johnny Fuck'In MARR!<br />

Johnny, you've really done it,now.
The secret is out! your a legend.
humble and brilliant. Jaguar!

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  • Britpop
  • 04-19-17

Inspiringly humble, better than Morrissey's bio

Enigmatic jaunt through an interesting life in music. Prior to this, I thought Damon Albarn was king of collaborations....yet, Johnny has immensely wide ranging projects and partnerships. Lovely to hear details on developing the creative process on iconic smiths songs. It gave a great insight into the humility and humanity of Johnny and his belief and pursuit of musical inspiration. It avoids the bile and hubris of Morrissey's rather disappointing autobiography. If you're deciding which account of The Smiths to commit to, go for this. Fabulous.

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  • John
  • 01-31-17

Compulsory reading for any Manc

From the crofts to the clubs and the sounds of Manchester. a great read for anyone who grew up in that era. There is a light that never goes out

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  • Sally-ann
  • 11-28-16

Brilliant

Narrated by the author johnny and it was so inspiring. Great to listen too
To such a humble brilliant man