Andy Rourke, bassist for the Smiths, passed away at 59

Andy Rourke, bassist for the Smiths, passed away at 59

Andy Rourke, bassist for the Smiths, passed away at 59

Andy Rourke, the renowned bassist for the iconic indie band the Smiths, has passed away at the age of 59. The news was shared by guitarist Johnny Marr on social media, revealing that Rourke had been battling pancreatic cancer. Rourke’s musical talent and kind-hearted nature endeared him to both his peers and fans. 

He made significant contributions to the Smiths’ acclaimed discography, including timeless hits like “This Charming Man” and “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.” Following the band’s breakup, Rourke continued collaborating with frontman Morrissey on solo projects. 

Andy Rourke, bassist for the Smiths, passed away at 59

He also played with esteemed musicians in various endeavors, such as the supergroup Freebass alongside Peter Hook and Mani, as well as collaborations with artists like SinĂ©ad O’Connor, the Pretenders, Ian Brown, and DARK featuring Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries. Rourke’s friendship with Marr spanned many years, starting from their early teenage days, and they shared a deep musical bond. Marr fondly recalled their time together and described Rourke as someone universally likable. 

The loss of Andy Rourke leaves behind a void in the music industry, but his legacy as a gifted musician and beloved soul will endure.

The classic lineup of the Smiths recorded their first demo, which showcased the defining elements of their sound. Morrissey’s distinctive vocals, Marr’s intricate and resonant lead guitar, and Rourke’s technically brilliant bass playing created a unique blend that defined British indie music in the 1980s. The band went on to release four classic albums and acclaimed singles, leaving an indelible mark on the music scene.

However, Rourke faced personal struggles, including heroin addiction and a subsequent arrest for possession in 1986. He was briefly fired from the band but rejoined after two weeks. Marr’s departure in 1987 led to the band’s eventual breakup, leaving Rourke and the rest of the group traumatized.

Rourke continued to collaborate with Morrissey on solo projects, but tensions arose between the band members. Rourke and Joyce took legal action against Morrissey and Marr in 1989, seeking equal shares of earnings. Rourke settled quickly, while Joyce pursued the lawsuit and received backdated royalties and a 25% share thereafter. The legal case famously portrayed Morrissey in a negative light.

In addition to his collaborations, Rourke played with Badly Drawn Boy and joined his touring band. His most recent endeavor was the band Blitz Vega with Kav Sandhu of the Happy Mondays.

Tributes poured in for Rourke, acknowledging his unique talent and influential bass style. Fellow musicians praised his skills and described him as an inspirational musician. Marr fondly remembered the experience of watching Rourke play his dazzling basslines, a moment he would never forget.

Andy Rourke’s musical contributions and distinctive bass playing will forever be remembered in the legacy of the Smiths and the British music scene.

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