John Martyn (singer)

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John Martyn, OBE (11 September 1948 – 29 January 2009), born Iain David McGeachy, was a British singer-songwriter and guitarist. Over a forty-year career he released twenty studio albums, working with artists such as Eric Clapton and David Gilmour. He has been described by The Times as "an electrifying guitarist and singer whose music blurred the boundaries between folk, jazz, rock and blues".[1]

Contents

Biography

Early life

Martyn was born in Beechcroft Avenue, New Malden, Surrey, England.[2] Martyn's parents, both opera singers, divorced when he was five and he spent his childhood alternating between England and Scotland. Much of this was spent in the care of his grandmother. His strongest ties were in Glasgow, and he attended Shawlands Academy there.[1]

Late 1960s and collaborations with Beverley Martyn

Mentored by Hamish Imlach, Martyn began his professional musical career when he was seventeen, playing a blend of blues and folk that resulted in a unique style that made him a key figure in the London folk scene during the mid-1960s. He signed to Chris Blackwell's Island Records in 1967 and released his first album, London Conversation, the following year.

This first album was soon followed by The Tumbler, which was moving towards jazz. By 1970 Martyn had developed a wholly original and idiosyncratic sound: acoustic guitar run through a fuzzbox, phase-shifter, and Echoplex. This sound was first apparent on Stormbringer! in 1970, which was written and performed by both John and Beverley Martyn, his then wife who had previously recorded solo as Beverley Kutner and had worked with artists such as Nick Drake and Jimmy Page. Her second album with John Martyn was The Road to Ruin, also released in 1970. However, Island Records felt that it would be more successful to market Martyn as a solo act and this was how subsequent albums were produced, although Beverley Martyn continued to make appearances as a background singer as well as continuing as a solo artist herself.[1]

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