Scottish Singer Songwriter John Martyn…

Scottish singer songwriter John Martyn dies, aged 60.

John Martyn, the Scottish singer songwriter best known for his influential 1973 album Solid Air, died today aged 60.

He was seen as a quintessentially Scottish hard-drinking troubadour but was born in New Malden, Surrey, in 1948. He was born Ian McGeachy and after his parents’ divorce moved to Glasgow where he spent his formative years living with his Grandmother. He was appointed OBE this year.

His biggest break came in 1967 when he was spotted in a folk club by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records.

His folk sound was transformed by his discovery of electronic guitar effects, first on Stormbringer, a 1970 collaboration with his then wife Beverly Martin, but more dramatically on Solid Air.

Martyn’s drinking and drug use exacted a heavy cost on his health, culminating in the loss of a leg to septicaemia in 2006. His wayward and irascible nature ensured that his commercial potential would never quite be fully achieved but his powerful, idiosyncratic body of recorded work ensures that he will long be respected by his fellow songwriters and musicians.

Michael Moran
The Times Online
29 January 2009