Published Jan 29, 2009After a decades-long musical career, acclaimed singer-songwriter John Martyn has died. The sad news came today (January 29) via a message on the artist's website, saying: "With heavy heart and an unbearable sense of loss we must announce that John died this morning." He was 60.
Despite never achieving mainstream success, Martyn was widely regarded as an influential musical figure, with the Scot's hybrid blend of folk, blues and jazz influencing such high-profile artists as Eric Clapton, Portishead and Beth Orton. In 1973, he released perhaps his greatest and most famed work, Solid Air, whose title track was a tribute to his late friend Nick Drake.
Born Iain David McGeachy in Surrey, England, in 1948, Martyn grew up in Glasgow and started his career playing the Les Cousins, a Soho club at the centre of London's folk scene, which also launched the careers of Ralph McTell, Bert Jansch and Al Stewart.
In tune with a life of rock'n'roll excess, Martyn spent much of his life battling drugs and alcohol abuse. In 2003, his right leg was amputated below the knee after a cyst burst, forcing him in recent years to perform in a wheelchair. He once told Q Magazine: "If I could control myself more, I think the music would be much less interesting. I'd probably be a great deal richer but I'd have had far less fun and I'd be making really dull music."
Martyn was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 New Year Honours and is survived by his partner Theresa.
The cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
John Martyn Music and Biographical