Last Word

Matthew Bannister
BBC Radio 4

Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently: Bill Frindall, John Updike, John Martyn, Reg Gutteridge and Angela Morley.

John Martyn

Musician who has died aged 60

John Martyn was one of the most innovative singer-songwriters of his generation. Although he rarely made the charts, many of his albums are regarded as classics. In particular “Solid Air”, recorded in 1973 and seen as his masterpiece.

John was born Ian David McGeachy. His parents divorced when he was five and he spent his childhood between his mother’s houseboat in England and his father’s home in Scotland. John moved to London in his late teens and started playing on the folk scene, where he met the singer Ralph McTell.
In 2008 John Martyn was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Radio 2 Folk Awards. The presentation was made by the drummer and singer Phil Collins.

Matthew Bannister talks to Ralph McTell and to lifelong John Martyn fan, the novelist Ian Rankin.

John Martyn was born 11 September 1948 and died January 29 2009.