John Martyn Biography

29 Aug 2000
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This Scottish singer/ songwriter/ guitarist set the world on its collective ear in 1968 with the release of his debut album London Conversation. A fairly typical British folk artist at first, his music began to relect influences of jazz, blues and rock and evolved into something far more sophisticated.

The maturation of John's musical style continued throughout the '70s. His songs were covered by many of the period's biggest acts, including May You Never (Eric Clapton) and Head And Heart (America).

Somewhat contrary to ordinary in his personal behavior, John frequently puzzled audiences by his onstage demeanor and penchant for playing folkie sets at rock halls and experimental electric music in acoustic venues. This, complicated by his frequent excessive use of alcohol, led to erratic variations of quality in his live shows. But, his fans were loyal throughout.

During the latter '70s Martyn abandoned his acoustic side in favor of harder, fusion-edged material. Collaborations with Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour and Levon Helm yielded magnificent results. However, mass commercial success was not part of the package.

That John Martyn has been, and remains, one of the most influential of all British folk and rock artists is an indisputable fact.