Two long years after the death of one of music’s most pioneering spirits, John Martyn‘s final recordings are to be released.
The album Heaven and Earth will feature vocal contributions from long-time friend Phil Collins, who sings on a John Martyn cover of Collins’ own Can’t Turn Back The Years.
The Guardian reports that Martyn had been working with producer Jim Tullio at his time of death, and Tullio was now teaming up with co-producer Gary Pollitt for the sake of putting Martyn’s “last musical testament in order”.
Tullio is piecing the record together using scraps of instrumental and vocal takes, and says, “John was a genius… He made music more naturally than anyone I’ve ever met, as effortlessly as the way you and I speak.”
Martyn formed a friendship with Genesis drummer and singer Collins in the early eighties, with Collins producing Martyn’s 1981 album Glorious Fool. Before he died, Martyn was busy arranging the cover of the 1993 Collins track from the Both Sides album. Upon his death Collins himself volunteered to take over vocal duties to complete the recording.
Tullio says, “After John passed, I spoke with Phil and he really wanted to sing on the track… [Phil] said he had always wanted John to record one of his songs. You can hear the emotion in their voices.”
John Martyn died in January 2009 from pneumonia. As previously reported on these pages, a tribute album to Martyn is to be released on the same day as the completed Heaven and Earth, May 3.