Johnny Marr Explains Nile Rodgers’s Hidden Influence On The Smiths

Serra Ozturk

The Smiths’ Johnny Marr recently made a guest appearance on the ‘Broken Record’ podcast. During his chat the guitarist went over his career and gave three names that have managed to stay as his influences. He said:

“They take all of these different elements that only to them make sense. For example, in my case, I didn’t really do a lot of interviews in the early Smiths days but when I was asked about guitar playing, when I had to really nail it down it was Nile Rodgers, Bert Jansch and James Williamson from The Stooges.”

Marr shared that Nile Rodgers, who once described Johnny as a ‘brother’, although shocking to some fans, had a ‘hidden influence’ on the band’s music. Johnny explained:

“At first people were like, ‘Huh? Come again, Nile Rodgers influenced The Smiths?’ But over time time now people know… listen to the second verse of ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side,’ or there’s a famous story about when I wrote ‘Hand In Glove’ it just started out as a Chic riff.”

The guitarist also pointed out that the final version of riff in a Smiths song distinguishes him from other guitarists. He added:

“The point being, that made total sense to me but you put it all through a funnel in your own mind and then it comes out and people say, ‘Oh yeah that sounds like Johnny Marr.’ But if I told you what I was thinking of when I came up with some of these riffs you’d say, ‘What?!'”

You can listen to Johnny Marr’s interview with the ‘Broken Record’ podcast below. You can also listen to ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side,’ and ‘Hand In Glove’ below.

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