The Smiths bass player Andy Rourke has died.
The musician had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, and was 59 years old. News of his passing was confirmed Johnny Marr, who saluted a “kind and beautiful soul” as well as “a supremely gifted musician by music fans”.
Find his statement below.
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer.
Andy will be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by those who knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by music fans.
We request privacy at this sad time pic.twitter.com/KNehQxXoFzmdash; Johnny Marr (@Johnny_Marr) May 19, 2023
The Smiths are perhaps primarily remembered for the songwriting genius of Morrissey & Marr, but the group would have been nothing without their rhythm section. Drummer Mike Joyce had a unique approach to the drums, while Andy Rourke’s spiralling, melodic bass lines often acted as a song-within-a-song.
Just go back to some of those classic singles – the swirling motif of ‘This Charming Man’, the low end chug of ‘Hand In Glove’ or the four string menace that lurks behind ‘How Soon Is Now?’… the list is endless.
In a note, Piccadilly Records write simply: “Thank you for the music.”
Suede bass player and novelist Mat Osman salutes a personal hero: “A total one-off – a rare bassist whose sound you could recognise straight away. I remember so clearly playing that Barbarism break over and over, trying to learn the riff, and marvelling at this steely funk driving the track along.”
Electronic producer Daniel Avery adds: “Now, that boy could play bass”.
Related: The Smiths – Their 20 Best Songs