By '87, The Smiths, once called the most important Brit Alternative Rock band to emerge in the '80's, was in trouble. First, guitarist Johnny Marr complained publicly that Morrissey's new songs had a definite MOR smell to them.
Morrissey, less publicly, expressed displeasure with Marr's numerous outside projects including work with Brian Ferry. Following the announcement of the Smiths' demise, their fourth and weakest album (not surprising since it was recorded in the midst of the break up), "Strangeways, Here We Come" was released. Strangeways was the name of a Manchester prison.
After a brief tenure with The Pretenders, Marr fronted a couple groups (The Electronic, Johnny Marr & The Healers). While nothing really rang the bell, Marr/The Smiths reputation grew exponentially. John Squire (Stone Roses), Noel Gallagher (Oasis) and Ed O'Brien (Radiohead) were quoted as saying Marr had been a major influence. Though The Smiths catalog sold briskly (with critical approval) any talk of a reunion was generally dismissed as a bad idea. Typically, Marr kept busy recording with a wide variety of artists.
Modest Mouse asked for Marr's help in '06 for "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank." Aside from playing guitar, Marr also wrote songs with lead singer Isaac Brock. Eventually, the band asked him to become a full member. The album went #1 in the U.S., ironically the first time Marr had ever been associated with a stateside chart-topper.
A couple years later, Marr joined The Cribs after playing with them on '08's NME Awards Tour. Upon the completion of "Ignore The Ignorant" her told a journalist that it was the best thing he'd done in 25 years.
Marr issued his sophomore solo effort "Playland" in '14. It was a follow-up to his debut, "The Messenger," a year earlier.
2013 The Messenger
Also see The Smiths.