The Disco and Hip Hop origins of the "How Soon is Now" riffs and melodies

In this 2018 video interview with John Kennedy from Radio X, legendary guitar artist and composer of orchestrated soundscapes Johnny Marr explains and plays the genealogy musical inspiration for the iconic riffs in the Smiths song, "How Soon is Now."

While his mates were listening to the "clever guitar" of the rock era, Johnny Marr was fascinated by a specific riff in the song Disco Stomp by Hamilton Bohannon released in 1975. As a twelve-years young "eccentric kid" he waited with giddy anticipation to hear the song on the radio. That let him to Bo Diddley's syncopated shuffle.

In 1984, world was gifted "How Soon is Now."

First released as a longer 6:43 long B-side to William, It Was Really Nothing," the "How Soon is Now" was subsequently released as a shorter single on the compilation album Hatful of Hollow.

As Martin O'Gorman details, "Using two Fender Twin amps, each pointing to different settings, Marr added the distinctive guitar riff, taking many, many takes to complete the part as the shuddering effect would frequently go out of sync.

Marr added a distinctive slide guitar part, which he said "gave it real tension", plus a piece of harmonic playing that was inspired by the hip hop tune You Gotta Believe by Lovebug Starksi, released the year before."

The official (record company) unauthorized (by the band) video clip for "How Soon is Now" is here.