Johnny Marr reveals reason for name change from Maher to Marr

Former Smiths guitarist releases debut album 'The Messenger' in February 2013

Johnny Marr has revealed the reason for changing his name from Maher to Marr as a teenager.

Speaking to XFM, the former Smiths guitarist explained that it was partly to avoid mispronunciation, and partly to avoid confusion with another Manchester-based musician.

“The original spelling of my name was Maher. In school I was always called Ma-her and May-her, going to the doctors or whatever. So I just thought I’d make it easier for everybody when I was 14 or something. And also the drummer from the Buzzcocks is called Maher, so I didn’t want to be confused with him. I was probably quite confident that I was going to make it in the music industry!”


As revealed by NME last month, the former guitarist in The Smiths and The Cribs will release his debut solo album, also called ‘The Messenger’, on February 25.

The album was recorded in Manchester and Berlin, and mastered at London’s Abbey Road by Frank Arkwright. The pair previously worked together on remastering work for The Smiths’ box set ‘Complete’.

‘The Messenger’ sees Marr turn frontman after years as star sideman and guitarist-for-hire. Speaking to XFM about the album, Marr revealed that he was inspired by being on tour with The Cribs “I’d thought about it quite a lot when I was touring. Keeping my eyes open when I was on tour, getting to see a lot of cities and towns. It’s to do with the connection between who I was as a teenager and how it’s still the same growing up. But it’s not a looking-back record in any way.”

Song titles on the album include ‘The Right Thing Right’, ‘Upstarts’, ‘European Me’ and ‘I Want The Heartbeat’.

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