Fans are sharing footage of Johnny Marr and his late Smiths bandmate Andy Rourke reuniting on stage last year, following the news of his death.
Rourke died after “a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer”, confirmed a statement from Marr this morning (May 19). He was 59 years old.
Last year, Rourke made a guest appearance at one of Marr’s New York City shows, joining Marr on stage at Madison Square Garden when supporting The Killers to play ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ and ‘How Soon Is Now?’.
See footage from the show below.
We got a mini-Smiths reunion at Madison Square Garden! Johnny Marr just brought up Andy Rourke for There Is A Light That Never Goes Out@mainlyoasis pic.twitter.com/irPi6lNR5L
— Robbie Fox (@RobbieBarstool) October 1, 2022
After the on-stage reunion, the pair then went on to reunite for their first new song in 35 years with Blitz Vega, the band comprising Rourke and ex-Happy Mondays guitarist Kav Blaggers.
Upon the release of the new song, Rourke reflected on reuniting with his old bandmate. “We’ve remained friends, we’ve known each other since we were 13 years old,” the former Smiths bassist said. “He’s my oldest and dearest friend and I feel our friendship gets stronger as time passes.”
Rourke formed The Smiths in Manchester with Morrissey, Marr and Mike Joyce back in 1982. He contributed to all four of Manchester band’s studio albums: 1984’s ‘The Smiths’, 1985’s ‘Meat Is Murder’, 1986’s ‘The Queen Is Dead’ and 1987’s ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’.
In tribute, Morrissey said of Rourke: “I just hope … wherever Andy has gone … that he’s OK. He will never die as long as his music is heard. He didn’t ever know his own power, and nothing that he played had been played by someone else. His distinction was so terrific and unconventional and he proved it could be done.”
Morrissey added: “He was also very, very funny and very happy, and post-Smiths, he kept a steady identity – never any manufactured moves. I suppose, at the end of it all, we hope to feel that we were valued. Andy need not worry about that.”
Expressing his “deep sadness” over his passing, Marr added: “Andy will be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by those who knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by music fans.”
The soloist has since shared a longer message, in which he described Rourke as “one of those rare people that absolutely no one doesn’t like”. Marr went on to say that he’d “be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by everyone who knew him”.
Elsewhere, ex-Smiths drummer Mike Joyce hailed Rourke as “not only the most talented bass player I’ve ever had the privilege to play with but the sweetest, funniest lad I’ve ever met”.
He continued: “Andy’s left the building, but his musical legacy is perpetual. I miss you so much already. Forever in my heart mate.”