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Fast Crash Philanthropy

Benefit gigs, charity albums, auctions-for-cause and more...

Madchester Guitar

In 2012, Johnny was one of the artists to sign the Madchester Guitar, auctioned on eBay in November in aid of chART, a charity which raises money to bring the arts to children with life-limiting conditions in hospices.

The fundraiser was started by Adam Masters, who also collected signatures on the instrument from the likes of Oasis, Buzzcocks and The Stone Roses.

Johnny with Adam Masters and the Madchester guitar (photo via Facebook)

Johnny with Adam Masters and the Madchester guitar (photo via Facebook)

'I thought I could use my contacts in the music business to do some good.
Every single artist I've asked to sign the guitar [was] dead happy to get involved. Not one said no.'

        — Adam Masters.

Close-up of Johnny's signature on the guitar

The guitar sold for £6,600 at auction, with the money raised going to Francis House and Claire House, children's hospices in Manchester and Wirral, respectively.

Learn more about how you can support chART here.

WaterAid eBay charity auction

As part of WaterAid's 2012 Q Awards charity auction, a selection of clothing items from mod fashion label Merc were donated with gift tags signed by artists at the event. Johnny signed and drew on the tag accompanying a classic Saint Checker Board Tipped Track Top, which sold for £87 at auction (the highest fetched for any of the donated clothing items, as a matter of trivia).

Merc Saint Checker Board Tipped Track Top

Johnny's signed tag

100% of the sale price was donated directly to WaterAid, an organisation that works to provide provide poor and marginalised communities worldwide with access to safe water and sanitation.

Learn more about how you can support WaterAid here.

Curious Stories from Curious Minds

Also in 2012, Johnny contributed a story to Curious Stories from Curious Minds, a children's book featuring stories from creative artists about what inspired them in their childhood. The book, inspired by Milligan's Ark, was produced as a fundraiser for Curious Minds, a charity that works to create opportunities for children's active participation in art, culture and creative learning.

Johnny's story tells of his early love of pop music and the discovery of what became his first guitar, and is illustrated by Andrew Rae.

(Photo via @Curious_Stories on Twitter)

The 104-page hardcover book is available for sale from Curious Stories for £20 + £3.95 postage and handling.

Learn more about how you can support Curious Minds here.

Johnny-designed Eastpaks for Designers Against AIDS

In late 2011, Johnny customised three limited edition blank Eastpak backpacks with his own original designs, to be sold online in March 2012 to raise money for HIV/AIDS awareness charity Designers Against AIDS (DAA).

(Photo via

More photographs, and a short interview, can be found here at Johnny's official website.

In January 2012, Johnny's custom backpacks were showcased at the first Artist Studio event in Berlin.

Designers Against AIDS (DAA) is an international organisation aimed at raising awareness of and promoting prevention against HIV/AIDS, as well as a campaigner for acceptance and equal rights for seropositive people. The Eastpak Artist Studio, in collaboration with Eastpak, is one of several fashion-centric projects developed by DAA, with the proceeds from the sale of the backpacks funding further AIDS awareness and prevention programs.

Learn more about how you can support Designers Against AIDS here.

Naked Heart Foundation Charity Ball

On 6 July 2011, Johnny joined Bryan Ferry onstage for the White Fairy Tale Love Ball in Paris. The event, coordinated by Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova, raised funds for The Naked Heart Foundation, a charity dedicated to building playgrounds for impoverished children. As a result of the fundraiser, which raised more than €2.3 million, it was announced that the foundation would be moving forward to also build dedicated playspaces for special needs children.

Johnny played 'The Right Stuff' and 'Kiss and tell'.

(Photo via

Learn more about how you can support The Naked Heart Foundation here.

'Tendency to be free'

In October 2010, Johnny released a cover version of Rabbit Mackay's 'Tendency to be free' for the charity album 1969 Key To Change. The album was in aid of Centrepoint, an organisation that provides housing, counselling, health services and education/employment assistance to homeless young people in the UK.

Johnny's contributed track can be downloaded from for £0.99, or as part of the whole album for £7.99 - £4.45 of which goes directly to the charity.

'Tendency to be free' was originally recorded by Rabbit Mackay and The Somis Rhythm Boyze in 1969, released as a promo single and also on the album Passing Through.


Listen to Rabbit Mackay's original:  

Learn more about how you can support Centrepoint here.

MAG Charity Trainers

In July 2010, Johnny donated a pair of own heavily customised trainers to be sold at auction for the benefit of Manchester's division of MAG (Mines Advisory Group).

The charity, which works in conflict-affected communities to reclaim areas contaminated by landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive items, collected dozens of pairs of pre-loved celebrity shoes to auction off for the cause - some adorned with simply a signature, or others, like Johnny's, creatively customised.

Organiser Zoe Corden said shoes were chosen as "it is people's feet that are most at risk from landmine blasts".

Johnny also contributed a pair of shoes to the fundraiser in one of its earlier incarnations, donating a customised pair of beige suede desert boots in November 2006.

The aforementioned desert boots, still on Johnny's feet (photo via Flickr)

The boots Johnny donated in 2006 were worn on The Healer's Boomslang tour, and can also be seen on the cover of the 7 Worlds Collide live CD.

Learn more about how you can support MAG here.

The Sun Came Out

In 2001 Neil Finn, lead singer and founder of the popular band Crowded House gathered some of music's most prolific artists together for some charity concerts in Auckland, New Zealand. Included were, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Johnny Marr of The Smiths, Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien from Radiohead, Sebastian Steinberg of Soul Coughing and Lisa Germano. They staged three amazing concerts under the moniker 7 Worlds Collide and it was a huge success.

Now seven years later at Piha on the wild west coast of Auckland, Neil has done it again and this time has invited Wilco and KT Tunstall to the line-up In addition to three concerts, they recorded a double album of new songs in just three weeks. Go behind the scenes and watch as these amazing artists conceive, write, tweak, record and perform these songs. Experience their creative process and their camaraderie as they work together for a bigger purpose, to raise money for Oxfam.

For the album, Johnny wrote and sang lead vocals on 'Run in the dust', and also co-wrote 'Learn to crawl', 'Red wine bottle', and 'Too blue' - the latter of which features Johnny on lead vocals again.

Johnny's children Nile and Sonny also featured on the album, playing guitar and performing backing vocals, respectively.

The album, available as both a single and double CD, was released in August 2009. A documentary by the same name, filmed during the making of the album, premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 9, 2010 and was later released on DVD in April 2012.

Following the recording of the album in December 2008, Johnny and the other 7 Worlds Collide members played three sold-out concerts at The Powerstation in Auckland, New Zealand, between 5-7 January, with the money raised again going to Oxfam. In addition to tracks from the to-be-released 7WC album, the set lists also included 'Down on the corner' and 'Please please please let me get what I want' with Johnny on lead vocals, plus 'There is a light that never goes out' with Neil Finn on lead vocals.

Learn more about how you can support Oxfam here.

Limited Edition PF Flyers

In 2007, Johnny teamed up wit PF Flyers to design a small run of limited edition trainers, for the benefit of autism charity Autism Speaks in the USA (known as Cure Autism Now at the time) and special needs education facility The Pictor School in the UK. Only 108 pairs were available for sale in the UK, and another 108 pairs in the USA.

'I was delighted when PF Flyers invited me to design a shoe. I've been wearing PF Flyers onstage for quite awhile and to come up with a design on a sneaker that will also benefit charity and the Pictor School is important to me as well as an exciting opportunity.'

        — Johnny Marr

Johnny designed the Center Lo trainer in dark blue leather with black accents, and each pair has his signature laser-etched on to the tongue.

Learn more about how you can support Autism Speaks here.

Read more about The Pictor School here.

Manchester vs Cancer

Johnny reunited onstage with Andy Rourke for the first time in 19 years to participate in Rourke's Manchester vs Cancer benefit concert on 28 January, 2006. The concert raised money for the Christie Hospital (now known as The Christie NHS Foundation Trust) in Manchester.

Johnny and Andy backstage at the Manchester vs Cancer concert, 2006.

Johnny performed a five song set as Johnny Marr + The Healers with guitarist James Doviak and drummer David Tolan, and Andy Rourke also playing bass on 'There is a light that never goes out' and 'How soon is now?'. 'Down on the corner' and two additional unreleased Healers tracks, 'Denial, denial' and 'Sparks of life', rounded out the set.

During the concert Johnny also collaborated with other artists on the bill, playing guitar on 'There goes the fear', 'Vicious', 'There's a ghost in my house', and 'Wrote for luck'.

Learn more about how you can support The Christie here.

Read more about Versus Cancer™ (previously Manchester vs Cancer) here.

A Concert for Linda

Johnny performed at a tribute concert for Linda McCartney at London's Royal Albert Hall on 10 April, 1999, an event organised by mutual friend Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders.

Johnny played guitar and sang lead vocals on The Smiths classic 'Meat is Murder' alongside The Pretenders, and also played guitar on The Pretenders' 'Back on the chain gang', 'As tears go by' with Marianne Faithfull and 'Faith' with George Michael.

Money raised by the concert was donated to various animal welfare charities with which Linda has been associated.

Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert

On 11th June 1988, Johnny performed at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, playing guitar on 'Summertime blues' alongside Simple Minds.

The concert, broadcast in 67 countries to an audience of 600 million, raised money for Oxfam, Christian Aid, War on Want, Catholic Fund for Overseas Development, Save the Children, Bishop Ambrose Reeves Trust, and the International Defence and Aid Fund.