The recent passing of Andy Rourke, the bassist of The Smiths, has left a void in the music world and ignited reflections on his remarkable but often overlooked impact within the groundbreaking group. Peter Hook, the esteemed bassist of New Order and a friend of Rourke’s, shared his sentiments on the matter, expressing that Rourke’s contributions were undervalued, even by certain members of the band.
Upon the announcement of Rourke’s death at the age of 59, tributes poured in from fans and fellow musicians, highlighting his significance. Peter Hook mourned the loss and described it as a sad day for Manchester, emphasizing that Rourke was highly regarded and would be sorely missed.
Hook, who had formed the “supergroup” Freebass with Rourke, recognized the vital role that Rourke played in The Smiths, alongside drummer Mike Joyce. In Hook’s opinion, both Rourke and Joyce were underappreciated, overshadowed by other members of the band. He stressed that without their contributions, The Smiths would not have achieved the impact and musical greatness they attained.
Andy Rourke, often seen alongside Hook as a DJing duo, had a deep longing for The Smiths to reform or continue their musical journey. He held a genuine appreciation for the passion and devotion that the band had left behind, always engaging with fans and discussing their collective legacy. Despite any frustrations, Rourke’s love for music and his enjoyment of the wonderful experiences it brought him were apparent, as he embraced the joy of playing.
Following Rourke’s death, Morrissey, Johnny Marr, and Mike Joyce paid heartfelt tribute to his contributions to the band, finally giving him the recognition he deserved.
Peter Hook, in reflecting on Rourke’s legacy, expressed hope that his passing might serve as an opportunity to heal the rift between Morrissey and Marr, the two central figures of The Smiths. Hook, whose own basslines influenced Rourke, vividly recalled seeing The Smiths perform in Manchester in 1983. He noted the young and vibrant Rourke, who, alongside Joyce and Marr, contributed to the band’s unity and distinctive sound. Hook emphasized the shock that reverberated through their dedicated fanbase when The Smiths disbanded, as the band had always appeared tightly knit and cohesive.
Could this lead to some mending for The Smiths? It’s tough to say, but Morrissey did take time out to write out his own words about the infamous Andy Rourke as he said…
Morrissey: “Sometimes one of the most radical things you can do is to speak clearly. When someone dies, out come the usual blandishments … as if their death is there to be used. I’m not prepared to do this with Andy. I just hope … wherever Andy has gone … that he’s OK. He will never die as long as his music is heard. He didn’t ever know his own power, and nothing that he played had been played by someone else. His distinction was so terrific and unconventional and he proved it could be done.”
Morrissey concluded: “He was also very, very funny and very happy, and post-Smiths, he kept a steady identity – never any manufactured moves. I suppose, at the end of it all, we hope to feel that we were valued. Andy need not worry about that.”