Andy Rourke
Andy Rourke, bassist for The Smiths, has died aged 59.

The news was announced by guitarist Johnny Marr on social media this morning (19 May).

Rourke joined The Smiths from the band Freak Party, which comprised Johnny Marr – whom Rourke had known from school – on guitar and Simon Wolstencroft, later of The Fall, on drums.

Rourke was temporarily let go by the band in early 1986, due to his heroin addiction, rejoining two weeks later just before they released their masterpiece, The Queen Is Dead.

Marr described Rourke’s contribution to that album as “something no other bass player could match”.

The Smiths broke up in 1987, with Rourke going on to play on several Morrissey singles, including Interesting Drug, The Last Of The Famous International Playboys and November Spawned A Monster. 

Their relationship came to an end, however, in the mid-90s, in a clash over royalties from The Smiths, with Rourke and Joyce instigating legal proceedings against Morrissey and Marr.

Rourke settled out of court for £83,000 and 10% of future royalties while relinquishing all further claims. Joyce, meanwhile, pursued the claim was awarded damages of around £1 million.

In the years after, Rourke played with such artists as Ian Brown, Badly Brawn Boy and The Pretenders and formed the band Freebass with bass players Mani (ex-The Stone Roses) and Peter Hook (ex-New Order). He also performed in the band Blitz Vega with former Happy Mondays guitarist Kav Blaggers.