Johnny Marr was joined onstage by Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones at last night’s NME Awards. (February 27) with the two legends collaborating on The Smiths’ classic ‘How Soon Is Now?’ – watch it above.
Performing after he accepted his Godlike Genius award, Johnny Marr introduced ‘How Soon Is Now?’ as “a Manchester folk song” before taking on lead vocals. Many of the bands in the audience were spotted on their feet for the performance, with Palma Violets dancing, Jen from Exclamation Pony on her chair and Harry from Peace breaking out some Saturday Night Fever moves. Security guards had to pull members of Peace, Spector and Palma Violets off their seats. “Behave yourselves, you lot,” Johnny Marr said as he left the stage after his performance.
Earlier in the evening, a video paying tribute to the iconic guitarist was shown in which Stephen Street, Bernard Sumner, Sandie Shaw, Miles Kane, Suede, Edwyn Collins, Bernard Butler and former Smiths bassist Andy Rourke all paid tribute to Marr’s talents. Noel Gallagher also appeared on video to say: “He can’t be imitated as a guitarist because he came up with something that was totally unique. He can play those riffs like it’s the most natural thing in the world. It is natural to him and that’s what separates great people from the rest; Neil Young has got it, Bob Dylan’s got it, Keith Richards has got it, Jimmy Page and Paul Weller have got it and Johnny Marr has got it. He doesn’t even grimace when he plays guitar, he looks like he’s riding a fucking bike.”
Picking up the award from NME Editor Mike Williams and Wood, Marr told the applauding crowd that his advice for new bands was to “just keep going, never give up because this is the best job in the world”. Marr was then joined by Ronnie Wood and The Vaccines’ Justin Young on a six-song set. Young sang on a cover of ‘I Fought The Law’, a Sonny Curtis song famously covered by The Clash, before Wood helped out on ‘How Soon Is Now?’. The set concluded with another Smiths classic, ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’.
Below, fans react to Johnny Marr and Ronnie Wood’s performance.