Remembering Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr’s triumphant version of The Smiths song ‘How Soon Is Now’
Taking a trip into the Far Out archives, we’re celebrating two of the most influential figures to come out of Manchester’s alternative music scene. There has always been a tremendous level of respect between both Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr and, in turn, the two would go on to single-handedly inspire the next generation of talent.
As their paths crossed throughout the yeats, Noel Gallagher would make an appearance at Johnny Marr’s performance at London’s esteemed Brixton Academy for a very special encore which included a raucous rendition of The Smiths classic ‘How Soon Is Now’—a moment of magic felt with the tangible chemistry they share on stage.
The evening was an especially poignant one for Marr as Brixton Academy was a venue that held a special place in his heart, a location where The Smiths played their final ever gig on 12th December 1986—the footage below marks the iconic guitarist’s return.
With the set drawing to a close, Marr turned to the crowd and asked them to welcome “one of the great songwriters for this country”, with his tongue firmly in his cheek he continued: “He’s got a bright future ahead of him.” Enter Noel Gallagher.
First up was a wonderful rendition of Iggy Pop and David Bowie’s co-created track ‘Lust For Life’ which is performed with considerable aplomb even considering the talent on show. The pair then joined together to perform a stripped-back rendition of The Smiths’ 1985 anthem ‘How Soon Is Now?’.
The performance, which not only derived from the pair’s friendship, but also from Marr’s session work for Gallagher’s then-upcoming new album Chasing Yesterday when the former Smiths man played the guitar on ‘Ballad of the Mighty I’.
Gallagher later revealed that he was incredibly hungover when he joined Marr on stage but, spurred on by the moment, couldn’t let down someone who had been so good to him in the past. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so fucking hungover onstage in all my life,” the former Oasis man said in a 2014 interview with XFM. “I was getting a back rub from his wife about two minutes before going on stage. If somebody had come up to me and said ‘You don’t have to do this’ I would have been, like, ‘Fucking, yes’.”
Detailing further, Gallagher went to explain why he was in such dire straits: “It was my wife’s birthday the night before and we’d smashed the arse out of it. I forgot I was playing with him. I promised him because he played on my record. He said ‘Get up and do ‘How Soon Is Now’ and then he drops another song on me on the day. But I did it because I’m a fucking trooper.
“I’d never played ‘Lust For Life’ before. You forget that you know all the words to it. ‘How Soon Is Now’ drags on a bit though, doesn’t it?” Gallagher comically added.
Enjoy their stunning performance of ‘How Soon Is Now’ below and see if you think Noel manages to adequately mask his hungover state.