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Set the Boy Free

Narrated by: Johnny Marr
Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

Non-member price: $31.21

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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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  • Betty Mak
  • Castle Hill, NSW Australia
  • 06-01-2019

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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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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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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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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Brilliant

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

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  • Endre
  • 10-11-2016

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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  • C. Cameron
  • 04-11-2016

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 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • L. Serck
  • 17-11-2016

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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs Dolan
  • 07-11-2016

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • A. J. Wylde
  • 06-02-2017

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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • EDWARD KELLY
  • 08-11-2016

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

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  • Drama Dave
  • 27-11-2016

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

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  • JulianLa
  • 10-11-2016

this guys a class act, Highly Recommended

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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Malvolio
  • 23-05-2019

A must listen for Smiths fans

Superlative insight into the birth of The Smiths from the man who really made it all happen. A real page turner - if you can say that about an audio book. Loved everything about it.

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  • J O'Keefe
  • 14-05-2019

What a story. What a guy.

Feel sad to finish this. Great insight into JM's story from his perspective. Even more compelling from his own mouth.

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  • mjk
  • 10-04-2019

Didn't do anything else until I got to the end

Once started, I just couldn't stop listening and I've put off listening for that very reason.
Johnny Marr articulates exactly how I feel about music and the guitar in a way I could never find the words to do so.
I'll try a less 'marathon' listen again in a few months time; it's a story worth savouring.