- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Set the Boy Free Hardcover – 3 Nov 2016
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
". . . wise, breezy, supersmart memoir . . . Marr’s defiantly unghostwritten book is pleasant and direct . . ." (Guardian)
"An unpretentious, clearly written memoir recounting his journey from a working-class upbringing on the outskirts of Manchester to his status as a musical polymath" (The Times)
"Set the Boy Free – a telling title again – is much more than an obituary for a brilliant band. It’s also a love letter to the women in Marr’s life … and a guide on how to keep changing and moving on with your creative life." (The Observer)
"It is a pleasure …. to read a memoir by a five-star guitar hero that … present[s] a particular life in rock as one of pure, disarming joy and open possibility" (New Statesman)
"Excellent" (The Sun)
"Set the Boy Free is a trip down memory lane featuring the all-star cast that Marr has rubbed shoulders with … and it will likely serve as a guidebook to anyone who's ever dreamed about picking up the guitar and trying their hand at making music for a living because, at its heart, Set the Boy Free is written by a music fan for music fans." (Esquire)
"His sweetly and deceptively simple account of his lively youth and The Smith’s early, joyous years … will touch many" (Mail on Sunday)
"Grounded and positive" (MOJO)
"His writing is compassionate, courageous and concerned" (Gigwise)
"Set The Boy Free tells the ordinary yet fascinating story of arguably one of the most influential guitar players of all time" (The Pool)
"An excellent memoir. . . Stars don't come much brighter than Johnny Marr … And it's a pleasure to hear the story from the man himself" (Manchester Evening News)
"Smiths fans will love it for the insight into the songs … He is relentlessly upbeat and positive" (RTÉ Radio Arena Show)
"Set The Boy Free aims to set the record straight on the story of one of rock’s most contentious break–ups" (Hot Press)
"Marr’s directness is refreshing" (AV Club)
"A must read for indie fans" (Vive le Rock)
"An excellent memoir… Stars don't come much brighter than Johnny Marr … And it's a pleasure to hear the story from the man himself" (Manchester Evening News)
"Entertaining and enlightening" (Irish Independent)
"Marr’s unrelenting positivity leaves the reader with a reassuringly feel-good glow" (Irish Times)
The autobiography of one the most influential guitarists and artists of all time.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Thankfully, we all know what he did with the guitar advice but I was also delighted to see that Johnny did indeed focus on his English in that "Set the Boy Free" doesn't just record a remarkable life but is beautifully written as well. Naturally, I was particularly interested in the early years especially the Wythenshawe section but, in truth, it was a gripping read from the first page to last.
The most powerful impact of the book is not just that it records the amazing story of a world famous rock star but it reveals what a great human being Johnny Marr truly is. Well done Johnny. You made your old English teacher very proud!
As everyone else has said, he's obviously a decent bloke (deeply in love with his wife Angie, deeply in love with guitars, never has a bad word to say about anyone) but I agree with some of the more negative reviews: The Smiths story is over far too quickly (with little insight) and then the second half of the book just becomes a chronology of events, written in a very simple, unexciting style so that most of the chapters go something like this:
"I then got a call from [insert name of alternative act here] who asked me if I would play on some of their songs. I really liked their music and thought it sounded great and asked Angie what she thought and she said it sounded great too and that I should do it. And so I decided to do it. I didn't know what I was going to do but when we played together everything just seemed to click straight away and it sounded great. We ended up making an album together and touring the world which I loved and which was great. We became great mates but when the tour finished I realised that I needed to do something else but I didn't know what. I then got a call from..." etc. etc.
Perhaps that's a little unfair but you get the general idea. It must be an amazing lifestyle but you wouldn't necessarily know it. In one sentence he mentions talking to Elliott Smith and that's that. Tell us what he was like!!
I'm reading Peter Hook's book now which is everything this isn't: full of great anecdotes, bitchy and best of all funny.Read more ›
I love the Smiths back catalogue.
I was looking forward to this autobiography since it was announced.
Unfortunately, it's a little tedious and uninteresting.
Johnny lists everything that happened to him in a dull shopping-list type tone.
I knew just about everything he mentions. No new revelations. No interesting facts.
His relationship with Morrissey is hardly discussed in any great detail.
All in all, a wasted opportunity.
Stick to the chords, Johnny.
Shame really. His music touched so many lives, but this book is best avoided.
I would give it one star but I loved The Smiths too much to do such a thing.
He comes across as a thoroughly nice person, but the book feels as though it is lightly skipping across deep waters. He chronologically describes his various collaborations, but there is very little emotional depth and it feels as though he is holding something back. His style of writing is also fairly primitive and perhaps an editor should have firmer in giving the book a much-needed polish.
This is still worth a read for fans of his work though, even if it is not quite the book that it should have been.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A marked contrast from the drama and pathos that Morissey served us, Johnny tells his tale in a matter of fact, at times somewhat plodding, style - but in my opinion, the book is... Read morePublished 14 hours ago by A Nonne
l love Johnny, and his music to bits, I really do. But, that doesn't of course equate to JM being capable of turning out a right good riveting read. Read morePublished 2 days ago by C. Simmons
arrived when expected, was a Christmas present for my husband who was over the moon with it .Published 6 days ago by Geraldine C.
I've really enjoyed reading about Johnny Marr even though I've never been a fan of him nor the Smiths. Read morePublished 13 days ago by BB
Loving this book, amazing insight into Johnny's love of music and how this developed.Published 14 days ago by Robert Mackie