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R.I.P. SONGWRITING LEGEND BILL MARTIN M.B.E.

R.I.P. SONGWRITING LEGEND BILL MARTIN M.B.E.

London, March 2020: British award-winning songwriting legend Bill Martin MBE died from heart failure on March 25th. One of the true characters of the music industry for over 50 years, he's best known for being the co-writer of "Congratulations", "Puppet on A String" and many other hits. No SODS (Society of Distinguished Songwriters) event was complete without him and his irreverent humour, always with a proud Scottish touch. SongLink sends sincere condolences to his wife Jan Martin and all his family.

Bill Martin MBE
Bill Martin MBE
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Bill and Jan Martin with David Stark
Bill & Jan Martin with David Stark
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Barry Mason, Anita Harris, Bill & Jan Martin, Gary Osborne, Cherry and Guy Fletcher
Barry Mason, Anita Harris, Bill & Jan Martin, Gary Osborne, Cherry & Guy Fletcher
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Bill's autobiography
Bill's autobiography
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Bill Martin was born William Wylie MacPherson in Govan, Scotland, attending the same school as famed football manager Sir Alex Ferguson. In 1960, Martin and his first wife Margaret (Mag) went to South Africa for two years and on their return, he determined to make songwriting his primary focus. He spent months working in Denmark Street and finally, in 1963, he had his first song released on record, with "Kiss Me Now" by Tommy Quickly. In 1964, he entered into a writing partnership with Tommy Scott. As Scott & Martin he had success with such acts as the Irish trio The Bachelors, Twinkle, the Irish folk band The Dubliners, Van Morrison, and Serge Gainsbourg.

In 1965, he met Phil Coulter and the two became established as a successful songwriting team that lasted more than ten years (lyrics by Martin, music by Coulter). They had records with such acts as Ken Dodd, Geno Washington, Los Bravos, Dave Dee & Co, The Troggs, Mireille Mathieu, George Harrison, Billy Connolly, Cilla Black, The Foundations, Cliff Richard, Sandie Shaw, and Elvis Presley with "My Boy".

Between 1967 and 1976 they had four No. 1 hits in the UK: "Puppet on a String" by Sandie Shaw, "Congratulations", "Back Home" and "Forever and Ever". Martin is the only Scottish songwriter to pen four UK number one hits for four different acts.There were also numerous Top 10 hits including the Bay City Rollers' "Shang-A-Lang", "Fancy Pants" by glam rock band Kenny, "Requiem" by the Scottish pop group Slik, and "Surround Yourself with Sorrow" by Cilla Black.In 1975, Martin and Coulter were joint recipients of an Ivor Novello Award for 'Songwriter of the Year'.

Having triumphed in the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest with "Puppet on a String", the first UK entry to win the competition, they finished second the following year in 1968 with "Congratulations" sung by Cliff Richard. In 1975, Martin and Coulter reached the Eurovision final for the third time, this time writing Luxembourg's entry, "Toi", for Coulter's future wife, the Irish singer Geraldine. The song finished fifth in Stockholm. Their final attempt at Eurovision glory was in 1978, when their song "Shine It On" finished third in the UK heat A Song for Europe sung by the Glaswegian, Christian.

As successful songwriters, record producers and music publishers, Martin and Coulter started a publishing company called Martin-Coulter Music, and signed such other songwriters as Van Morrison, Billy Connolly, Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny, Eric Bogle, Sky, Midge Ure and B. A. Robertson. Although he continued to write music, Martin found himself gravitating to the business side of the music industry by the 1980s. His partnership with Coulter ended in 1983 when Martin bought out Coulter's share of the business. He later sold the company to EMI. In his business career, he successfully built up and sold numerous companies in such diverse fields as music publishing, marketing and properties. He once owned the rights for Van Morrison and East/Memphis Music Corp., which he sold respectively to Chappell Music and Rondor Music.

In 2009 Martin was awarded a Gold Badge Award for services to the music industry by BASCA, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. In November 2012, he received the Sunday Mail Living Legend Award. In 2017, Martin published his autobiography, "Congratulations. Songwriter To The Stars" written with his friend Stuart 'Cheeky' Cheek. He has four children, Meran and Alison from his first marriage, and Angus and Melanie from his second marriage to Jan whom he married in 1972.

http://billmartinsongwriter.com

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