24 Jul 2011
E-book edition that preceded the printed version.
This is in fact the first version of Chris Nickson's biography that was actually sold. The Amazon description:
For over four decades, John Martyn was a musician’s musician (lauded by artists as disparate as Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Bob Marley), a superb guitarist and singer who straddled the worlds of folk, jazz and rock, earning an OBE and being honoured with a Life Achievement by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards shortly before his untimely death in 2009. He was a true innovator, constantly pushing the boundaries of his music – but he hadn’t been kind to his body.
Drinking and drug use contributed to serious health problems that led to the amputation of part of John’s leg - but even that didn’t slow him down. He turned out one of his best albums in 2007, and toured regularly. There were plans for a new record - but John succumbed to pneumonia early in 2009.
He leaves behind a body of work that ranges from the beautifully intimate to the majestic, created during a turbulent, troubled, but uncompromising life - all detailed in Solid Air.
Amazon sold the Kindle edition for the initial price of £ 7.71 but it dropped quickly to £ 6.17. It had 266 pages and a filesize of 476 Kb.
Chris Nickson wrote to me: "I've interviewed a number of people for the book, from John himself (a 1993 interview) to Bridget St John, Robin Frederick, and Clive Palmer of the Incredible String Band to Claire Martin (who covered one of John's songs a few years back and sang live with him on a few occasions), Spencer Cozens, Arran, and even Chris Blackwell, plus several others. [...] Beverley didn't answer my requests for an interview, and I haven't been able to track down Danny Thompson."
"And, in case you're wondering, I'm a longtime fan. A girlfriend introduced me to John's music in 1972 (Bless the Weather), and I've been a huge fan since. Living in Leeds I was fortunate enough to be at the Live at Leeds show, before I moved to the States, and I've been able to see him live a few times - three in the early/mid '70s in England, and twice in Seattle in the '90s, when he played solo."
Chris was halfway the 90.000 words of the biog by May 2004 and the original publishing date was scheduled for summer 2005. Unfortunately it was never printed because the publisher died that year. Still as late as April 2010 Helter Skelter made the announcement. It delivered a cover design, it was to count 256 pages and had a ISBN 1900924862 but to no effect.
After John had died Chris came into contact with Liaison Music and finally managed to get the thing out in print.