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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