May We Never Forget The Genius Of John Martyn

Pete Paphides
The Times
John Martyn: guitar pioneer

For many music fans, one lingering image of John Martyn, the British singer-songwriter who has died at the age of 60, remains preserved in the amber of the communal memory bank: 36 years ago, the pioneering acoustic artist appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test playing the song for which he will probably be remembered best, May You Never.

The Day John Martyn Played For Us In Prison

Erwin James
The Guardian music blog

In 'Paranoia City', the hellhole that was our home, Martyn's heartfelt concert made us feel human again.

The news of John Martyn's passing took me back to a packed gymnasium in what, at the time, was one of the most dangerous high security prisons in the country. HMP Long Lartin, a festering wound of a jail nestled in the heart of the beautiful Vale of Evesham, Worcs, held men serving some of the longest sentences in the system.

John Martyn - 1948-2009

Terry Staunton
Uncut website

It's ironic that John Martyn’s final live shows, late last year, found him performing his classic 1980 album Grace & Danger in its entirety, as the singer-songwriter had constantly spoken of his reluctance to dwell on the past. He'd previously excused himself from any involvement in the obligatory deluxe edition reissue of the record in 2007, and had taken a similarly hands-off approach to last year's career-spanning box set Ain't No Saint.

Farewell, John Martyn…

Danny Eccleston
Mojo website
Farewell, John Martyn...
pictureHERE'S THE LAST TIME I saw John Martyn, trundling onstage at last year's MOJO Honours List ceremony in his wheelchair, waving and smiling like the Queen mum in her landau, one leg short since 2004, when a burst cyst poisoned it, forcing amputation.

John Martyn: Pioneering Singer-songwriter

James McNair
The Independent

John Martyn: Pioneering singer-songwriter who blended folk with jazz and played with Eric Clapton and Dave Gilmour

Before he passed away this week at the age of 60, the singer and guitarist John Martyn had cheated death many times. A former heroin user and lifelong alcoholic who suffered numerous injuries in falls, he also seemed to treat being shot at, pancreatic failure, and a broken neck sustained when his car collided with a bull as occupational hazards.

The Wild Man Of Folk Dies Aged 60

Jonathan Brown
The Independent

The wild man of folk dies aged 60

Tributes paid to John Martyn, hellraiser whose haunting music was loved by millions

John Martyn, the folk-blues singer whose extraordinary voice and virtuoso musicianship beguiled a generation by speaking directly from the dark pit of his soul, has died at the age of 60. Best known for his 1973 masterpiece Solid Air, the title track of which was written for his friend and fellow tortured genius the late Nick Drake, Martyn's songs spoke of loneliness and love always wrapped up in the most beautiful of musical accompaniments.

John Martyn Dies

BBC 6music website

Tributes begin for folker John Martyn who has passed away aged 60

29 January 2009 - The legendary singer-songwriter and a founder of the British folk scene has died. A post on John Martyn’s official site reads: "With heavy heart and an unbearable sense of loss we must announce that John died this morning." The cause is not yet known.

John Martyn: A Music Legend Remembered

Will Hodgkinson
The Guardian Music Blog

Throughout his life he kept searching for new musical forms in which to express essential themes: love, loneliness, and what it means to be alive

At the 2008 Mojo awards, where he accepted the Les Paul Award for being a phenomenal guitarist, an inspirational figure and an all-round cool guy, John Martyn gave sage, slightly slurred advice to future generations. "The power is definitely in the music, not the people," he said. "The music is the cool bit."

John Martyn: The Last Major Interview

Rob Fitzpatrick
The Word website

Meeting John Martyn -never mind going to his local pub with him, then retiring to his house for rum and orange juice- was one of the great pleasures -honours even- of my life. John was a heroic person in every sense, not all of them good. He drank and drugged and fought and swore to the limits of anyone's capabilities, but, Jesus Christ, he could really play. And really sing. And really write. He was as alive as it's possible to be when the weight of illness and the discomfort is upon you. He didn't slow up - he still, as I said in WORD's cover feature - stared people out in the pub, and he could still roar with anger when needs be. But he was excellent, hilarious company and his partner Teresa clearly adored him (and he her).


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