“We’ve got the love, we’ve got the power
We’re in it together, stay strong forever.
Though the possibility of The Smiths reuniting is left out in the cold, bassist Andy Rourke and guitarist Johnny Marr have once again joined forces following a performance at Madison Square Garden playing “How Soon Is Now?” and “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.”
Now the more amiable half of The Smiths have recorded their first song together in 35 years: “Strong Forever,” a new track by Rourke’s group with former Happy Mondays guitarist Kav Blaggers, Blitz Vega. Marr is featured on guitar; the album was co-produced with DJ Z-Trip. Marr and Rourke, who have known each other since middle school, feel their friendship gets stronger as time passes – and this collaboration shows there is still magic in their creative forces.
“I wanted exactly what Johnny does,” says Rourke. “He has a very distinctive sound, and that’s what he did. We love what he brought to the track.”
While it’s more Happy Mondays-flavoured than Smiths in its sound (Blaggers is on vocals), Marr’s signature jangling guitar takes centre stage. It’s an expansive, feel-good anthem – a cheerful, welcome balm to the gloomy days of mid-November.
Rourke and Blaggers had been working on the track since before lockdown. “We were originally recording this song for a UN/U.K. football anti-discrimination/anti-bullying campaign,” Rourke says. “We approached a few people to guest on the track, and I asked Johnny, who very kindly recorded some guitars and sent them over.”
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