Johnny Marr’s old English teacher reviews his autobiography

Jim Foley taught the Smiths guitarist at St Augustine's in 1977

Johnny Marr‘s book Set The Boy Free appears to have been reviewed by the Smiths guitarist’s old English teacher.

Set The Boy Free was published last November, telling his life story as well as the rise and demise of The Smiths.

Now Twitter users have unearthed an Amazon review of the book from December which alleges to have been written by Marr’s old English teacher, Jim Foley.


The review begins: “I had a particular interest in the book because I taught Johnny in my first teaching job at St Augustine’s in 1977. I was his English teacher and also his football manager and I remember what a good player he was – skilful, athletic and very determined. I also remember some perceptive careers advice I gave Johnny. I told him he could be a success in life if he focused on his English and got rid of his guitar!”

It continues: “Thankfully, we all know what he did with the guitar advice but I was also delighted to see that Johnny did indeed focus on his English in that ‘Set the Boy Free’ doesn’t just record a remarkable life but is beautifully written as well. Naturally, I was particularly interested in the early years especially the Wythenshawe section but, in truth, it was a gripping read from the first page to last.”

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“The most powerful impact of the book is not just that it records the amazing story of a world famous rock star but it reveals what a great human being Johnny Marr truly is. Well done Johnny. You made your old English teacher very proud!”

NME has not been able to verify the validity of the user’s claims.

Johnny Marr at the VO5 NME Awards 2017

Meanwhile, Marr joined Pet Shop Boys on stage for a special collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Royal Albert Hall last week.


Coming together for an epic concert in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust, the duo invited a full orchestra and The Smiths turned solo icon and guitar hero to run through a career-spanning two-part set.

A couple of songs into the show after performing ‘Tonight Is Forever’, frontman Neil Tennant told the crowd: “We’re going to jump forward a few years to our album ‘Behaviour’ – officially our best album. A special guest from that album is going to join us now – would you please welcome Mr Johnny Marr.”

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Marr then remained on stage for the duration of the two sets, when particular highlights came when he added his lush, signature and floral guitar sounds to ‘Jealousy’, ‘For All Of Us’, ‘It’s Alright’ and the climactic closer of ‘It’s A Sin’.

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Watch Johnny Marr discuss his book with NME below:

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