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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 January 2006, 11:43 GMT
Smiths duo reunite at charity gig
Johnny Marr (l) and Andy Rourke -  Great Northern Productions/Nat Curtis
Johnny Marr (l) and Andy Rourke will lead a host of musicians
Two members of iconic band The Smiths are to perform together in public for the first time in almost two decades.

Guitarist Johnny Marr and bassist Andy Rourke will team up at a charity concert in Manchester later this month.

They have not played together in public since the four-piece band - led by singer Morrissey - split acrimoniously in 1987.

Other artists confirmed for the concert on 28 January include New Order, Badly Drawn Boy and Doves.


Marr, who formed The Smiths with Morrissey in 1982, laughed off suggestions he and Rourke were making history by performing together at the MEN area.

"We do it every week, but people don't know that. We do it at the Frog and Bucket," he joked.

Rourke, who is organising the concert, added: "All the musicians in Manchester know each other anyway, so we are just going to get them all to intermingle and jam and do cover versions.

"As the evening goes on and people get more and more into the spirit of things then the unexpected will happen, we'll see.

"It will be a one-off thing that you are not going to see anywhere else ever again."

Rourke said he got the idea for the concert after his manager's sister and father were both taken ill with cancer.

He asked Marr if he would like to get involved with his current band The Healers.


Marr added: "[Rourke and I] were just hanging out and seeing each other and he told me about this project.

"I literally stood up and applauded and said I would get involved with it if he needed any help. It's a privilege to help.

"I think Andy is very brave putting this together, but who would refuse it?"

Websites dedicated to the band have been buzzing with speculation that Morrissey would also appear at the gig, but the rumour was denied by concert organisers.

A spokeswoman said: "As far as I know, it's just going to be Andy and Johnny, but what conversations have gone on other than that I don't know."

The Smiths made four studio albums - including The Queen is Dead and Meat is Murder - and had three top ten hits in the 1980s before they split.

After the group disbanded Morrissey embarked on a solo career. In 2004 he released his first album for seven years, You are the Quarry.

Rourke has played in many bands since The Smiths, some alongside The Smiths drummer Mike Joyce.

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