Andy Rourke – Best Bassist of all time Biography [1982-2023]

Andy Rourke

One of the best bassist that the music industry ever got is “Andy Rourke”.He is an English musician who is historically known as the bassist for the Smiths.His unique playing style ,evolved from fully cranked tone knob and pick , gave each record a unique ,fresh and evergreen  tone.

”Smiths” is an famous english rock band formed in Manchester in the year 1982 A.D. The members of the “Smiths”  band  were Morissey(main vocalist ) Johnny Marr(guitarist) , Rourkeand Mike Joyce(Drummer).

He born on 17 January 1964 in Manchester Lancashire, England.His real name is Andrew Michael Rourke.

Andy Rourke
Andy Rourke
Personal InformationDetails
Full NameAndrew Michael Rourke
Date of BirthJanuary 17, 1964
Age59 Years Old
Death19 May 2023
Zodiac SignCapricorn
Birth PlaceManchester, England
Height5 feet 9 inches tall
Andy Rourke
Andy Rourke


Rourke’s father and mother was Irish and English . He had received an acoustic guitar at the age of seven by his parents.Then he started learning to play guitar . His passion towards music increased day by day and he used to practice everyday as well.

At the age of 11 he became friend with John Maher ( who is currently known as Johnny Marr) . Both of them had great interest in music. They used to spend their lunch breaks in school jamming together , playing on their guitars, learning and teaching each other.

Later Marr and Rouke formed a band ,Rourke who was currently a guitarist was invited in the band to try on the bass. He got a chance to learn and play bass for the first time.From guitar to bass ,he learnt it soo well.As he fell in love with soo hard that he continued to play it for the rest of his life.

At the age of 19 ,Rourke dropped out from theschool  and went for series of menial jobs, playing guitar and bass in multiple rock bands.He also played in the short lived funk band Freak Party with Marr.He became bassist for that band on Mark’s encouragement.

Andy Rourke
Andy Rourke


Marr teamed up with Morrissey and formed the band “ Smiths” . Rourke joined the band after his first gig.Rourke replaced Dale Hibbert on bass in the Smiths. He was perfoming great in the band but later in 1986 he was sacked from the band.Suffering from heroin addiction  was the reason of being sacked.After 2 weeks he rejoined the band and released the third studio album “The Queen is Dead “ .

 Marr declared that Rourke’s playing on that album was a masterpiece that no other bass players could ever match.

In 1987 Smith band released their 4th album “ Strangeways, Here We Come “ .Unfortunately it was 4th and last album of Smith band. After release of 4th album , Smiths split apart , all the members went separate ways in their own musical journey.

Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce made legal proceedings against Morrissey and Marr over royalities. Due to his heroin addiction, he was short on money ,Rourke settled out of court for £83,000 and 10% of future royalties while relinquishing all further claims.

Andy Rourke
Andy Rourke

Joyce pursued the claim until 1996 and was awarded substantially more in court.After the settlement ,later Rourke found himself being declared himself Bankrupt following a petition of the inland revenue on 25th January 1999.

After the breakup with the Smiths , Rourke and Joyce played with Sinead O’connor ( but not Joyce).They released second studio album I Don’t Want What I Haven’t Got in 1990.

He provided the rhythm section for 2 singles by former Smiths lead Vocalist Morrissey “Interesting Drug& “The Last of the Famous International Playboys in 1989.

Album TitleArtistRelease Date
The SmithsThe SmithsFebruary 1984
Hatful of HollowThe SmithsNovember 1984
Meat is MurderThe SmithsFebruary 1985
The Queen is DeadThe SmithsJune 1986
Strangeways, Here We ComeThe SmithsSeptember 1987
Viva HateMorrisseyMarch 1988
Kill UncleMorrisseyMarch 1991
Your ArsenalMorrisseyJuly 1992
Ripped & TornFreebassAugust 2010
I Am Not a Dog on a ChainMorrisseyMarch 2020


Awards and Nominations for The Smiths:

Awards and Nominations:

NME AwardsBest New Band1983
NME AwardsBest Single (“This Charming Man”)1984
Brit AwardsBest British Group1987
Q AwardsInspiration Award1992
Rock and Roll Hall of FameInductees2015

Awards and Nominations for Morrissey:

NME AwardsBest Solo Artist1991
Q AwardsBest Solo Artist1992
BRIT AwardsBest British Male1995
NME AwardsGodlike Genius Award2007
Q AwardsIcon Award2018

Social works :

Andy Rourke has been involved in a number of charitable and social causes over the years.

Rourke in collaboration Nova Rehman  , production company and great northern productions and other organizers, together they  organized Manchester v Cancer . It was a series of concerts to benefit cancer research .

Later it was named as “Versus Cancer”.

Rehman’s father and sister were diagnosed with the disease so they came up to creating these events to raise awareness share love and care amoung others.

The very first Manchester v Cancer concert happened in January 2006.

It featured a reunion between Rourke and his former Smiths bandmate Johnny Marr.They performed one song together. 

He also organised further concerts in the three following years

Here are the social work/organizations and their respective years in tabular format:

Social Work/OrganizationYear
Musicians Against Homelessness2016
Manchester Aid to Kosovo1999
City of Hope2008
Teenage Cancer Trust2011
Music for Youth2014


Unfortunately  Rourke is no longer with us .He left the world at the age of 59. On 19 may 2023 Rourke died from pancreatic cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City .

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