I love this recollection by Johnny. In the Daily Mail of all places. Had no idea they could write such good articles:
‘I was at my parents’ house one Sunday evening,’ recalls Marr, ‘and my little brother had a guitar knocking about. I started to play some chords and quickly came up with this riff.
I got very excited about it as I knew it was good. But I didn’t have anything to record it on, so my girlfriend Angie – who’s now my wife – ran around to her house and snuck her dad’s car out. I got in the car with my guitar, playing the riff over and over again so I wouldn’t forget it!
We drove to Morrissey’s. I got there, and I’m holding this guitar outside his door in the rain, unannounced. “Oh, hello,” he says, “what have you got there?” I said: “A new song.” “Well, you’d better come in then.”
‘So in I went, and Morrissey pulled out this tape recorder, and we recorded the music. Then I went home. He called me the next day and said, “That new song’s called Hand In Glove.”
‘We would rehearse five nights a week in our manager’s clothing warehouse. The minute we started to play the new song, I knew we’d gone to a new place, because of the melody and the riff, and also because the words and music were an exuberant celebration of both our lives. Friendship. That was what had changed in his and my life. We had met each other, were working together, and we were in love with each other, in the best possible way. And Hand In Glove came out of that. The words sound like the music, and the music sounds like the words – it’s a beautiful thing.’
‘We had a few interesting songs, like Jeane and These Things Take Time and Miserable Lie and Handsome Devil.
'There were maybe seven or eight songs, the core of the live set. But Hand In Glove was our anthem.’
They only had that one session to nail Hand In Glove but the situation wasn’t helped by the studio engineer.
‘He was very, very difficult and narky, and made us feel like we were an inconvenience,’ says Marr. ‘Which is somewhat annoying because even now he tells everyone how he helped us birth our sound.’
Perhaps because of this hostility the Smiths’ frontman was unsatisfied with his own performance on tape.
‘Morrissey went back and re-recorded his vocal to the song a week later, which was very smart and showed how on our game we were.
'Most bands who just start out are just so happy to have a cassette with their tune on it. But to know it wasn’t quite right and go back to re-do it shows a degree of perfectionism.’
Yeah, he always seems to speak with love about those early years, even when it comes to Morrissey, it's later on when the pressure of managing the band with someone as difficult as Moz can be on top of everything else is where the bitterness seeps in.
And he does a lot of speaking engagements and interviews, it's not like he's stood on Hyde Park corner everyday shouting about Morrissey being Billy no mates.