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The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr crowned NME Genius

LONDON (Reuters) - Guitarist and songwriter Johnny Marr who made his name with cult British rock band The Smiths in the 1980s was named on Tuesday as the winner of this year's NME Godlike Genius Award.

Marr, 49, founded The Smiths with Morrissey in 1983 and the two musicians co-wrote the band's songs for four albums before going their separate ways in 1987.

The guitarist has also played with Billy Bragg, The Pretenders, The The, Modest House and The Cribs, and has led his own band, Johnny Marr and The Healers, for over a decade.

Marr will collect the award on February 27 when the music magazine holds its annual prize ceremony in London -- two days after he releases his debut solo album "The Messenger".

"The NME seems to be good at giving this award to people I like so I'm in good company. I guess it means that some things are alright with the world," Marr said in a statement.

NME editor Mike Williams said Marr had played a role in rewriting the history of music with The Smiths.

"He's continued to push boundaries and evolve throughout his career, working with some of the best and most exciting artists on the planet," said Williams.

Previous winners of the NME Godlike Genius Award include The Clash, Paul Weller, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers, New Order & Joy Division, and Dave Grohl. Last year's winner was Noel Gallagher.

NME awards are handed out in 22 categories with music fans casting votes.

This year four acts have received four nominations including the Rolling Stones, LA sisters Haim, Australian rock band Tame Impala and British alternative hip hop artist M.I.A.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, editing by Paul Casciato)

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