Folk Legend John Martyn Dies

Singer-songwriter John Martyn, who was awarded an OBE in the 2009 New Year Honours List, passed away last week aged 60.

While the cause of death is yet to be announced, John’s website carried a statement saying: “With heavy heart and an unbearable sense of loss we must announce that John died this morning.”

John’s 40-year musical career was recognised last February, when his good friend Phil Collins presented him with a lifetime achievement award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

The Genesis star paid tribute to the musician, saying: “John’s passing is terribly, terribly sad. He was uncompromising, which made him infuriating to some people. But he was unique. I loved him dearly.”

John, the son of two light opera singers, was a popular and influential figure on the 60s London folk scene, defining his sound with the use of the Echoplex echo device and masterful finger picking.

After several albums which went largely unnoticed, and two releases with his then-wife Beverley Kutner, John – born Ian David McGeachy –  released solo album Solid Air in 1973, which is seen as one of the most influential albums of the decade, and was voted the 67th best British album of all time by Q magazine.

After contracting septicaemia from a burst cyst in April 2003, John had his right leg amputated just below the knee.

The singer frequently joked about being wheelchair-bound and the subsequent weight gain during his concerts, asking: “Does anyone require the services of a one-legged Sumo wrestler?”

Stuff, New Zealand
2 February 2009