Morrissey, Marr and Mullingar

Mor­ris­sey, Marr and Mullingar, as pub­lished in the West­meath Topic today, Wednes­day August 13

One of the most influ­en­tial bands in the his­tory of rock music, The Smiths, were, it seems inspired by none other than Joe Dolan.

Ahead of his con­cert at Lea­pord­stown Race­course last week, for­mer Smiths gui­tarist now solo star Johnny Marr con­firmed that the inspi­ra­tion for one of the bands finest songs, “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”, came from Joe’s first sin­gle “The Answer to Everything”.

He’s the sec­ond Smiths mem­ber to declare Joe as an inspi­ra­tion. Since the early 2000’s Smiths vocal­ist Mor­ris­sey has been enter­ing the stage to the strains of Joe’s “Good Look­ing Woman”.

Speak­ing back­stage to the Topic and to Johnny and Michael Cronin from the band Cronin, Marr, who was born John Maher to Irish emi­grants from Athy, Co. Kil­dare, revealed that his mother’s favourite, most cher­ished record was a 7 inch copy of Joe’s debut sin­gle “The Answer to Every­thing”. Released in 1964 the sin­gle pro­pelled the late Joe Dolan to star­dom and was a hit on both sides of the Irish sea. It was played so often in the Marr house­hold in Man­ches­ter that it became ingrained on young Johnny’s mind.

Johnny Cronin (left) and Michael Cronin (right) from the bands Cronin and The Aftermath pose discuss Joe Dolan with fellow fan Johnny Marr at Leopardstown in August.

Johnny Cronin (left) and Michael Cronin (right) from the bands Cronin and The After­math pose dis­cuss Joe Dolan with fel­low fan Johnny Marr at Leop­ard­stown in August.

When he picked up the gui­tar as a young­ster it became one of the first songs he learned to play, using its chords to feel his way around the new instru­ment. Even though he later became more influ­enced by the rock, pop and funk of the 1970’s, he never left “The Answer to Every­thing” behind and he would revisit it as a mem­ber of The Smiths in 1984 when record­ing B-sides for the sin­gle “William, It Was Really Noth­ing”. As well as “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”, the other B-side recorded in those pro­lific ses­sions “How Soon Is Now?” would also go on to become one of The Smiths best-known songs.

Joe Dolan fans one and all - The Smiths

Joe Dolan fans one and all — The Smiths

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” would later fea­tured on the com­pi­la­tion albums “Hat­ful of Hol­low” and “Louder Than Bombs”. A short but sweet song at less than two min­utes its chords and melody are eerily sim­i­lar to Joe’s “Answer to Everything”.

The song has been cov­ered by sev­eral artists, includ­ing The Decem­berists, Franz Fer­di­nand, OK Go, Deftones, Rob Dick­in­son, Hootie & the Blow­fish, Muse, Third Eye Blind, The Dream Acad­emy, Josh Rouse, She & Him, and Clay­hill. It has fea­tured on dozens of movies, includ­ing Shane Mead­ows’ “This Is Eng­land”, “Pretty in Pink”, “Fer­ris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Starter for 10”, “Never Been Kissed” and “(500) Days of Sum­mer”. It also appeared on the Christ­mas spe­cial finale of the Ricky Ger­vais vehi­cle “Extras” and a ver­sion was per­formed in the Christ­mas 2011 ad cam­paign by British depart­ment store John Lewis.

Mor­ris­sey and Marr, whose writ­ing credit adorns it and every other Smiths song, both per­form the song as part of their respec­tive solo reper­toires, with the for­mer often break­ing down in tears dur­ing the man­dolin solo at the end. Marr, voted one of the worlds best gui­tarists, recently added it to his solo set.

For over a decade now, Mor­ris­sey has been show­ing a video mon­tage before he takes to the stage at are­nas, sta­di­ums and fes­ti­val sites around the world. Whilst sev­eral of the video clips in it have changed over the years, one video that remains in it is the final musi­cal one, which fea­tures Joe Dolan resplen­dent in a brown suit singing “Good Look­ing Woman” on an unnamed Euro­pean TV show from 1970. Mil­lions have seen the mon­tage, which also includes footage of Morrissey’s favourite music and dia­logue from his favourite films and TV shows.

Morrissey’s love for Irish singers has long been evi­dent and he has often spoke of his Irish roots and even alluded to them in song and in verse. He has cham­pi­oned bands such as Sack, Pony Club, Elevens and singer Damien Dempsey for many years, and his admi­ra­tion for Joe also came at a young age, largely thanks to his mother. A sec­ond cousin of Irish soc­cer cap­tain and all-time top scorer Rob­bie Keane, Mor­ris­sey was born Stephen Patrick Mor­ris­sey in Man­ches­ter in 1959 to Irish par­ents from Crumlin.

Despite only being active for five years (between 1982 — 1987), The Smiths are revered as one of the great­est, most influ­en­tial bands of all-time. The band con­sisted of vocal­ist Mor­ris­sey, Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drum­mer Mike Joyce, all with Irish roots. Crit­ics have called them the most impor­tant alter­na­tive rock band to emerge from the British inde­pen­dent music scene of the 1980s and the NME named them as the “most influ­en­tial artist ever” in a 2002 poll, even top­ping the Beatles.

Based on the song­writ­ing part­ner­ship of Mor­ris­sey and Marr, the group only released four stu­dio albums, The Smiths (1984), Meat Is Mur­der (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986) and Strange­ways, Here We Come (1987). Bands such as Oasis, James and The Stone Roses have all said they wouldn’t exist but for The Smiths.

Morrissey - has been coming on stage to Joe Dolan for years

Mor­ris­sey — has been com­ing on stage to Joe Dolan for years

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