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(Credit: Phil King)

Music

Watch Alicia Keys and Johnny Marr cover The Smiths hit 'This Charming Man'

The world of music has been introduced to the partnership it never knew it needed: Alicia Keys and Johnny Marr. 

The crowd at the AO Arena in Manchester, England, were stunned when the legendary former guitarist of The Smiths came onstage to help the ‘Empire State of Mind’ vocalist deliver a soul-infused version of The Smiths’ most iconic song, the 1983 effort ‘This Charming Man’.

Keys has been touring the length and breadth of the country after she performed the 2009 megahit ‘Empire State of Mind’, which originally featured rapper Jay-Z, to an energetic audience at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert, where she made headlines by replacing all the song’s famous New York references to instead focus on London. 

However, arguably her most important performance of the week came when she brought Johnny Marr onstage to perform ‘This Charming Man’. Largely faithful to the original, Keys imbues the song with a twist of soul courtesy of her swooning vocal delivery which contains echoes of Nina Simone and Sade. 

Towards the end of the cover, Keys applauds Marr by announcing his name triumphantly into the microphone, to which the audience erupts with applause, blown away by what they have just witnessed.

Whilst it has been a momentous year for Alicia Keys, Johnny Marr has also enjoyed a busy start to 2022. Back in March, longtime fans of the guitarist were thrilled when it was revealed that he and American rockers Modest Mouse are working together on new material.

The admission came directly from Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock, who along with Marr was asked about the prospect of reuniting for the 15th anniversary of the much-lauded 2007 record We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.

“We’ve already started working on some stuff together,” Brock replied. “We just finished a song, ‘Rivers of Rivers’ – actually I think it’s just ‘Rivers of…’ – but it’s in a pen-pal sort of way. International travel isn’t what it once was at the moment.”

See the performance, below.

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