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Johnny Marr Says the Smiths’ ‘How Soon is Now?’ Could’ve Sounded Very Different

Jason Kempin, Getty Images

We may never know the answer to the question, ‘How Soon is Now?,’ but thanks to former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, we do know how close their classic single came to lacking its trademark riff.

Marr told a British radio station that his bandmates had all gone to a pub when he wrote the distinctive guitar part and that he likely never would’ve come up with it if he had joined them. “My mates, the band, were out, doing something on a Bank Holiday weekend, and I was stuck indoors ’cause I gotta write the track,” Marr said. “If I’d have been hanging out at the pub, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Marr referenced a quote by Pablo Picasso while telling the story. “Picasso had a saying that inspiration does exist, but it has to find you working. And I think that’s very true,” he said. Then he clarified, “I’m not comparing myself to Picasso!”

Marr is set to release his second solo album, ‘Playland,’ on Oct. 6.

Watch the Smiths’ Official Music Video for ‘How Soon is Now?’

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