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John Martyn , OBE (New Malden, London, United Kingdom, September 11, 1948 – Kilkenny, Ireland, January 29, 2009) was a British singer, songwriter and guitarist whose name Real was Ian David McGeachy , Order of the British Empire in 2009. For more than forty years of career he published twenty studio albums.
Born as Ian David McGeachy in London, England, he grew up in Glasgow, Scotland. He adopted the name John Martyn in honor of the Martin guitars.
John Martyn’s career began in 1967 when he was discovered by Chris Blackwell and the record player for Island Records, being the first white singer of the house, and that same year he released his first album London Conversation.
In 1969 he married Beverley Martyn (Kutner as a single girl), with whom he published two albums under the name of “John & Beverley Martyn” (Stormbringer! and The Road to Ruin), until his label forced him to leave this collaboration and continue his solo career. Finally they will divorce in 1979.
Martyn was always an innovator, which led him to experiment with sounds like the Delay on his album Bless the Weather, the first one released after leaving the duo with his wife.
He published the album Solid Air in February 1973, dedicated to Nick Drake who was in deep depression (English folk songwriter). In this long he explores jazz for the first time, with the essential collaboration of Danny Thompson on the double bass, Tristan Fry on the vibraphone and John “Rabbit” Bundrick on the electronic piano, and of course, Martyn himself on the acoustic guitar.
After the death of his friends Nick Drake and Paul Kossoff (guitarists of Free), and tired of the record industry, he decided to take a sabbatical in Jamaica, around 1975, time that he takes advantage of to collaborate with groups such as Burning Spear ( Man in the Hills, 1976).
Returns from Jamaica full of ideas that lead to One World, LP loaded with romantic songs, where friends like Steve Winwood, who at those moments began his solo career after leaving Traffic; also collaborating Rico Rodriguez, with an impressive trombone solo, Jon Field (Jade Warrior), Dave Pegg and Danny Thompson.
Influenced by the evolution of music in the early 80s and affected by his recent divorce, Martyn receives the help of Phil Collins (who would also participate in his next album, Glorious Fool), to get away of folk, and approaching a more commercial pop, on the album Grace & amp; Danger.
In 1981 he leaves Island to sign for WEA (Warner Bros.), although he breaks the path in 1984. Martyn, who has always had health problems, many related to drugs and drinking, has an accident in which he He pierced a lung in 1982. Years later in 1996 his pancreas had to be removed.
In 1998 he released his first album of versions, The Church with One Bell, with songs by Billie Holiday, Portishead, Elmore James, Randy Newman or Dead Can Dance.
He continues with health problems, which in 2003 led him to lose a leg, which leads him to use a wheelchair in his public appearances.
In 2008 he receives the award for the entire career of BBC Radio 2 Folk, he is given by his friend Phil Collins. And in 2009 he is granted the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He died on January 29 of that same year.
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