Published on September 12th, 2022

It’s hard — nay, impossible — to say who the best Smith is. The surname derived more than a millennium ago from the term for metalworkers is the most common in the English-speaking world; hence the futility of picking a standout.

The best one of the Smiths, though? Consider Johnny Marr. In just five years (1982-1987), Marr forged a sonic vocabulary and attitude for alternative music in the ’80s and beyond as the Smiths’ co-founder, guitarist and co-writer. His inventive playing — the pesky jangle of “This Charming Man,” the tremolo throb of “How Soon Is Now” — is post-punk defined.

But he didn’t stop at the breakup of his beloved British steel-town band. Collaborators since then include Modest Mouse, Herbie Hancock, Talking Heads, Pet Shop Boys, Bryan Ferry and Pharrell. His screen credits alongside composer Hans Zimmer include “No Time to Die,” actor Daniel Craig’s swan song as 007, and Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending thriller, “Inception.” Marr helped to devise a melancholy tonal theme for the latter’s lead character, Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio). For the Bond movie, he worked on the score and the Oscar-winning title track by sibling duo Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell.

Marr’s new solo album is “Fever Dreams Pts 1-4,” which he’s taking on the road as the opener on the Killers’ world tour. Laurels trail him everywhere: “godlike genius” (NME); “arguably Britain’s last great guitar stylist” (Mojo); an honorary degree from a public university in his hometown of Manchester “for changing the face of British guitar music.”

He lives by a “strength through health” credo that he picked up from Naughty by Nature and applied to quitting tobacco and alcohol and going vegan. One might ask why he’d consent to open for a younger act, but Johnny Marr doesn’t need to explain anything to anyone. Especially of late, he’s the busiest of the Smiths, and in the pantheon of Smith-dom he’s better than Morrissey. There, I said it: Johnny Marr is the best Smith.

The Killers and Johnny Marr play 7:30pm Tuesday, Sept. 13 at FTX Arena in Miami. ~ Tim Moffatt