John Martyn, One-Year Wake

Graeme Thomson
The Arts Desk (website)

Exactly a year ago, late in the morning of 29 January, 2009, the news began to circulate that John Martyn had died at the age of 60. I spent the following 24 hours or so talking to many of his cronies to help assemble a tribute feature for The Word magazine. Chris Blackwell, the man who had signed him to Island in 1967, had just stepped off a plane in Jamaica. He sounded fuzzy and uncertain. He knew Martyn was dead but needed details. "What happened, I haven't heard?" he asked. Pneumonia, I told him. "Ah, God, that'll do you in."

Saint or Sinner?

Russell Leadbetter
The Herald Scotland

Published on 25 Jan 2010

Almost a year after his death, John Martyn’s life is the focus of a celebratory concert. But the man behind the music remains as mysterious as ever.

He was an incurable romantic who was handy with his fists. Within his burly, imposing frame lay a soulful, expressive voice, and his songs lent themselves to cover versions by artists as renowned as Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and Ralph McTell. As for his guitar playing, he was a master of the craft, an enduringly influential and inventive figure.

John Martyn, alas, is with us no more. He died less than a year ago, on January 29, 2009, aged just 60, of double pneumonia in a hospital in Ireland. On hearing the news, his long-time friend, the singer Phil Collins, was moved to say: "He was uncompromising, which made him infuriating to some people, but he was unique and we’ll never see the likes of him again. I loved him dearly and will miss him very much."

Legend Martyn left £82K

Sunday Express

pictureCult folk and blues singer John Martyn left his long-term partner and daughter an estate worth £82,000 in his will.

The twice-married musician, who grew up in Glasgow, died from pneumonia at the age of 60 last January.
His partner of 10 years Teresa Walsh received three-quarters of the estate while daughter Mhairi, 38, was left the rest by Martyn, best known for his 1973 album Solid Air.
The figure for his estate is thought not to include property and assets in Ireland. Martyn, who lived in County Kilkenny, also had a son Spenser.

Singer-songwriter John Martyn left his sons out of his will

The Mail on Sunday

pictureInfluential singer-songwriter John Martyn - who died last year aged 60 - left his two sons out of his will. Three-quarters of his £82,000 estate will go to his partner Teresa Walsh, while the remaining 25 per cent goes to his daughter, Mhairi McGeachy. But Martyn's will, signed on June 28, 2007, made no mention of his other two children, Wesley and Spenser. Martyn left an estate worth £312,000, which was reduced to £82,000 after his affairs were settled.

Singer John Martyn leaves UK estate to partner and daughter

The Scotsman

FOLK and blues artist John Martyn left his entire UK estate to his partner and his daughter in his will. The Scottish singer, guitarist and songwriter, below, who lived in the Republic of Ireland and died aged 60 last January, had an estate in the United Kingdom worth £82,000. The figure disclosed in probate records released in the UK last week is not thought to include property and assets he had in Ireland.


David Cooke
Big Muff

(i.m. 1948-2009)

In the picture-perfect scenery of Challes-les-Eaux
in seventy-five, locked in private darkness,
I played your lost indefinable music
on a tired loop of tape: Solid Air –
its title track an elegy for a friend you couldn’t save,
while you were destined to survive.
With a brawler’s zest for living,
you absorbed the booze and heartbreak.

When I heard you had died I found you
in the afterlife of YouTube, restraining tears
for grief you’d caused,
knowing your muse, Serendipity,
had always been a harsh one, that even now
there could have been no easier way.

David Cooke

I received this a week ago and today, what would have been John's 61st birthday, seems a good day to publish this elegy. David writes:


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