John Martyn

John Martyn

MUSICIAN John Martyn had just about every vice known to man. Drink, drugs, women . . . he overdid them all.

If ever there was a man destined for an early grave, it was him.

So it didn’t come as much of a surprise to learn of his death, aged 60, this week.

Martyn was a true innovator whose fusion of folk, blues, jazz and funk resulted in a sound that was uniquely his. If you don’t own a copy of Solid Air, you should.

I count myself fortunate to have seen him live many years ago at Newcastle’s Playhouse Theatre, when he was still at his peak.

Had he led a cleaner lifestyle, Martyn would undoubtedly have lived a lot longer.

But as he once commented: “If I could control myself more, I think the music would be much less interesting. I’d probably be a great deal richer but I’d have had far less fun and I’d be making really dull music.”

Thankfully, that was something he never did. His life of  excess  spawned songs his fans will turn to time and again.

And while the music world may be poorer, those close to Martyn will at least take some comfort from that.

Ken Oxley
The Sun
2 February 2009