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Some People Are Crazy: The John Martyn Story

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Described recently by Empire magazine as "Britain's best ever blues singer", John Martyn was one of rock music's last real mavericks. Despite long-term addiction to alcohol and drugs, which contributed to his death in January 2009, he produced a string of matchless albums. Loved by fans and critics, loathed by ex-managers, he survived the music business he despised for ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Birlinn Ltd (first published October 25th 2007)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Paul Bryant
Is John Martyn The Most Physically Transformed Without Being Transgendered Musician of all time?

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And all you need is thirty years and enough booze to float a battleship, and enough coke to pacify Mike Tyson. I just bought the big JM box set, yeah, of course, being from the generation who has had to buy everything three times. Apart from the music, the best thing was this quote from Beverley, his first wife. When the booze and diabetes and whatnot finally got to John they
...more
Pete daPixie
Jul 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: poptastic, biogs
Actually, as music biogs go, John Neil Munro's John Martyn story is more readable than most. 'Some People Are Crazy', published in 2007, is as complete a coverage of J.M.'s life as makes not much difference.
Munro's love and affection for the artistic output of his subject shines through here, without any obsequious flattery. Martyn's musical career, from the Glasgow folk scene of the mid 60's, playing alongside the likes of Hamish Imlach, the Incredible String Band and Bert Jansch in Clive's
...more
Bruce
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite singers whose songs have stood the test of time and stuck with me over the years. Great book and very informative. I laughed out loud at the very outset of the book when I read the 2 conflicting opinions of JM - a loveable rogue it seems when all said and done. Watching and listening to his work and seeking out new stuff after reading the book is going to be interesting ...
Allan Heron
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Master musician but pretty poor human being. Written before his death the author is too inclined to let Martyn's behaviour off lightly.

There was a reason so many key characters didn't want to be involved in the book.

Perhaps now is the time for a more penetrating look at the life of this contradictory character.
Harry Burnside
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Quite interesting if you like reading countless people trying to convince you how wonderful he was while also recounting his various binges that made him inlikeable.
It was a struggle with the same negative scenatios playing out in each successive year of his life.
Tony Walker
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good book. Kinda sad though

Loved the book. Pretty even handed and forgiving off the great man's faults. We will never see his like again
Kevin McGrandles
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read

Enjoyed the book and didn't gloss over anything. Undoubtedly a musical genius but certainly flawed. I will be checking out his back catalogue.
Gary
Mar 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Written before John Martyn's death this isn't a posthumous cash-in. What it is is a well-written, balanced biog of a very talented individual who by his own admission didn't make it easy for people to like him. The reason being the all too common scenario of a beligerence and boorishness brought on by and exasperated by a dependency on copious amounts of alcohol and drugs which polarised the opinions of those who knew him.
If you didn't know the man though what is important is the joy he brought
...more
Michael D
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I had the somewhat dubious honour of seeing Martyn drunk, performing an incoherent blues dirge in Kilkenny a few years ago only for him to end the song by stumbling on top of Sneaky Pete's pedal steel and nearly demolishing it and was very please to read the account of that gig here.



Martyn is a miracle. The fact he is still alive is just astounding and this book gives us some idea of the trail of destruction left behind in his hell-blaziing wake. At times funny, disturbing (Martyn once downed a
...more
Tim
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies, music
John Martyn was one of the biggest shits around, by some accounts. And by others not. A contradictory fellow, who lived life large and made the most unsettlingly sublime, beautiful music of the 70s. One can only wonder what he would have produced if, like Waits, he'd met his Kathleen and cleaned up his act. I was lucky enough to see him give a blistering performance in Edinburg in 93. Lucky because I have yet to meet anyone here in South Africa who got to see him play, despite the fact that he ...more
Tom
Jan 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
he's made some great albums, he's an arse, many people who have worked with him still think he's great but some of them think he's vile.

no real analysis in the book - lots of text from clippings and what looks like one-shot email interviews.

disappointing
Gary
Mar 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
It's poorly written especially after reading Joe Boyd. I did read up to Solid Air and have decided that great song (and songs from the album) though that is I'm not all that interested in John Martyn. One piece of trivia I learned is that we share the same birthday — the now notorious date of 911.
F.G. Cottam
Oct 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
John Martyn often adopted the swaggering persona of a Glasgow street brawler in wierd apologist counterpoint to his writing like a lyrical poet and playing and singing like an angel. This book documents his life and explores his contradictions impressively. A must for all fans, as the cliche goes.
Paul Downey
Aug 30, 2010 rated it liked it
A bio of one of my favorite musicians, with some nice background on the recording, but who sadly comes across as being something of an unlikeable person.
Bill Winkelman
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
A great musician and a greatly flawed human being. One of those rare people where it is better to just listen to his music than learn about the demons that drove him.
Adam
Aug 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
Not brilliantly written but some fascinating moments, facts and insights into one of Music's all-time greats
Leo Goldsmith
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it


A solid biography which takes a balanced view but falls foul of the main trap for most music biogs- becoming somewhat list-y and slipping into cliche.
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