Andy Rourke, the Smiths’ endearing man, passes away at the age of 59

Andy Rourke, the bassist for “The Smiths,” passed away on Friday at the age of 59. His driving rhythms were the foundation for some of the most important albums in “British music history.”

Rourke passed away “after a protracted battle with pancreatic cancer,” according to the lead guitarist and co-founder of the Smiths.

His bandmate Jonny Marr wrote on Instagram, “Andy will always be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by all who knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by people who love music.”

As the Smiths rose to fame in the 1980s and became one of Britain’s most popular bands, Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce provided a tight rhythm section to support guitarist Richard Marr’s innovative chords and co-founder Morrissey’s morbid lyrics.

After the Smiths’ acrimonious split in 1987, Rourke, who was struggling with heroin addiction and financial issues, joined Joyce in suing Marr and Morrissey for a larger share of royalties.

The judge described Morrissey as “devious, truculent, and unreliable” during the bitter hearings, but the bassist reached a settlement outside of court, and his friendship with Marr endured.

Before adopting a more accommodative stance in his 2013 book “Autobiography,” Morrissey, who has been increasingly experimenting with far-right politics, was venomous towards his former bandmates.

Rourke’s bass lines defined a new era of craftsmanship that was lauded by contemporaries on songs like “The Headmaster Ritual,” “The Queen Is Dead,” and “This Charming Man.”

Although Marr and Morrissey didn’t particularly enjoy “Barbarism Begins at Home,” Rourke used the funk bass from an earlier band he had started with Marr.

In 1975, Rourke and Marr were classmates at “Manchester’s public school,” where they later became close friends. Marr recalled being present in the studio for each of Rourke’s bass takes during the Smiths recording sessions as well as their final performance together, which took place at “Madison Square Garden” in New York City in September 2022.

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