Andy Rourke went on to play in a bunch of other bands after The Smiths broke up in 1987, his most recent of which being Blitz Vega with former Happy Mondays guitarist Kav Blaggers. The duo have a single out now called “Strong Forever,” which features licks from fellow ex-Smith Johnny Marr, marking the first new music they’ve recorded together in 35 years.
“Strong Forever” is set to appear on Blitz Vega’s upcoming album, and as Rourke told Rolling Stone, it was originally recorded with then-Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan for a UN/UK football anti-discrimination/anti-bullying campaign. That plan fell through when Meighan pleaded guilty to domestic violence in 2020.
But Rourke wasn’t quite ready to trash the song entirely: Blaggers replaced Meighan’s vocals, and Rourke decided to call up an old friend to contribute as well. “I wanted exactly what Johnny does,” Rourke told RS. “He has a very distinctive sound, and that’s what he did. We love what he brought to the track.”
Blaggers added: “Andy calls me [one day], and he says Johnny said he’ll record some guitar on the track… I was like, ‘What? Johnny? Johnny Marr?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah,’ in his laidback but very Mancunian way.”
So, there you have it. “Strong Forever” does kind of feel like a song you’d hear playing through the speakers at a soccer stadium — especially with a chorus that goes “We’ve got the love, we’ve got the power/ We’re in it together, stay strong forever” — but you can definitely detect Marr and Rourke’s contributions. And, no matter the circumstances, it’s always nice to see them getting along. Listen to “Strong Forever” below.
Marr made a rare onstage appearance with Rourke just last month while the former was touring with The Killers. The pair played Smiths classics “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” and “How Soon Is Now?” together, and Marr also joined The Killers for yet another rendition of “This Charming Man” together.