2 February 2009

Sunday 1 February 2009 Chat

John Martyn has died aged 60.
He battled alcohol and drug addiction throughout his adult years and yet was widely regarded as one of the most innovative singer songwriters of his generation.
Producing a unique blend of blues and folk and with a tape device known as an Echoplex, he developed an original sound and his albums were considered classics although his work seldom reached the charts.
As a teenager John was a regular at Les Cousins Soho folk club, along with Al Stewart and Ralph McTell. He became the first white act signed to Island Records.
In 1968 he released his first album, London Conversation, and in 1973 dedicated his best-regarded album, Solid Air, to his friend and fellow singer songwriter, Nick Drake, who overdosed and died just after the album was completed, aged 26.
In 1969 John had married blues singer Beverley Kutner but post Solid Air his dependency on drink and drugs toppled into alcoholism. The substance abuse couldn't fail to effect his marriage which ended in the late 1970s.
He later claimed to recording engineer, Phil Brown, never to have written a good song since leaving his wife. Even so, his later albums with WEA, Glorious Fool and Well Kept Secret, were the highest-charting records of his career.
In the 1990s he experimented with electronic dance sounds and featured as a vocalist on the Sister Bliss hit, Deliver Me.
In 2003 he began performing from a wheelchair following the amputation of his right leg below the knee, as a result of complications of drug dependency and alcohol abuse.
He told Q Magazine he had no regrets,
"If I could control myself more I think the music would be less interesting," he said. "I'd probably be a great deal richer but I'd have had far less fun and I'd be making really dull music."
On 4 February 2008 John received a lifetime achievement award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Accompanied by John Paul Jones on mandolin, he performed Over the Hill and May You Never at the ceremony and will be remembered for Bless the Weather, Couldn't Love You More and Sweet Little Mystery from his considerable output.
John's work also influence
d others, among them Eric Clapton and Phil Collins.
He was appointed OBE in the 2009 New Year Honours and died just a few days later on 29 January.
John Martyn will be missed by everyone who loves original music.

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