Last Friday, Johnny Marr, former guitarist of legendary 1980s British indie rock band The Smiths, announced on Twitter the passing of Andy Rourke, the group’s bassist, at the age of 59 due to pancreatic cancer. Marr described Rourke as a kind and beautiful soul and highlighted his extreme musical talent in a post on Instagram, accompanied by a photo of the two when they were young.
Andy Rourke, born January 17, 1964, was the third child in a family of four male siblings. He began playing guitar at age 7, a gift from his parents, and soon after became interested in bass guitar as well. Along with his lifelong friend Johnny Marr, he joined the funk band Freak Party and later joined The Smiths in 1982, the same year they formed.
The fame of The Smiths, originally from Manchester, in the north of England, came in 1986 with the release of the album “The Queen is Dead.” The band broke up in 1987, and from then on, Rourke collaborated with various musicians such as Sinead O’Connor, The Pretenders, Aziz Ibrahim, and Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, who passed away in 2018.
Mike Joyce, former drummer for The Smiths, praised Rourke as the most talented bassist he had ever had the privilege of playing with and also described him as a charming and funny person. Mat Osman, bassist for Suede, noted Rourke’s uniqueness as a bassist and his instantly recognizable sound.
After the breakup of the iconic band, Rourke struggled with heroin addiction and joined Joyce in a copyright-related lawsuit against his former bandmates, Marr and Morrissey. They eventually settled, and their lifelong friendship survived.
Morrissey, known for his controversial attitude towards his former bandmates, wrote on his official website that Rourke will never die as long as his music continues to be heard. He praised Rourke’s originality, stating that he was unaware of his own power and that what he played had never been performed before, even after The Smiths disbanded.
Leave a Reply