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John Martyn: Johnny Too Bad


BBC FOUR pays tribute to musical maverick John Martyn, who died at the age of 60 on 29th January 2009, with an intimate documentary portrait originally transmitted in 1994. This honest and often blackly hilarious film shows Martyn at home in Ireland, during the lead-up to and aftermath of an operation to have one of his legs amputated below the knee. Contributors include sometime collaborator and buddy Phil Collins, the late Robert Palmer, Ralph McTell, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, fellow hellraiser bassist Danny Thompson, John's ex-wife Beverley Martyn and younger generation fan Beth Orton. We see a man incapable of compromising his creative vision, from his folk club roots in the Sixties, through a career of continuous musical experimentation. Along the way there is a surreal roll-call of accidents and incidents, including a collision with a cow.

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