Wildman John gives his career kirk-start

Georgina Reid
The Sun
The Sun picture exclusive
Wildman John gives his career kirk-start
Spiritual home... singer John, inset, fell in love with church opposite his house

WILDMAN singer John Martyn told record bosses he'd only do another album – if they bought him the old church next to his house. Martyn, 50, fell in love with the dilapidated kirk across the road from his home in Roberton, Lanarkshire.

The cult singer-songwriter told chiefs at record company Independiente: "I don't want any money. I just want the church for inspiration." He even named his latest album of cover versions after it – The Church With One Bell.

John -who's sold thousands of albums in a career spanning 30 years- said: "That old church is really lovely. It's nothing to do with religion. The record company said they wanted me to do an album of cover versions so I told them I wanted the church in return."

By Georgina Reid

John completed the album in 10 days and the building was his. He added: "It was a straight swap, no money exchanged hands, nothing like that. It's completely converted and I almost live there now. I use an old stables next door as a studio."

John, who has worked with top stars like Phil Collins, will make a rare TV appearance tonight. He'll play live in front of a studio audience on STV's Boxed Set programme.

The publishing date had to be reconstructed but we know the tv broadcast took place 17 September 1998.
The course of events is not quite as depicted in this article. John had been wanting to buy the church for a very long time but did not have the money. When it was going to be sold to some English buyers, he contacted Independiente if they wanted to acquire it for him. The record company obliged and they came up with the idea of a cover album as a way of payment.