John Martyn – Small Hours (1978)

John Martyn at Reading University singing Small Hours from ‘One World’ 20/10/1978

“A guy walks out, sits down, and announces, “I’m the warm up band.” We started booing. Then he starts playing through Floyd’s surround sound in an open air stadium.

When he’s through we were shouting for more. This guy single-handedly blew a few thousand impatient minds, and I’ve never forgotten that night.”


“One of the most mercurial figures in music throughout his four-decade career, John Martyn created a bounty of mesmerising, often uncategorisable songs that reflected both his mystic, freewheeling disposition and the turbulence in his personal life.

Born in 1948, Martyn immersed himself in folk and blues growing up in Surrey and Glasgow. While his 1967 debut, London Conversation, painted him as an earnest folkie. He soon ventured into more idiosyncratic directions. Incorporating jazz rhythms and textures, as well as the distinctive guitar sounds he created with devices like the Echoplex. On albums such as 1973’s Solid Air and 1977’s dub-influenced One World, Martyn explored new stylistic frontiers. While conveying a wealth of lyrical feeling.

Even though Martyn’s battles with alcoholism and other demons created many disruptions in his career, he weathered his storms long enough to experience a renaissance with 2004’s On The Cobbles. His final release before his death in 2009.”



44 responses to “John Martyn – Small Hours (1978)”

  1. citypunch82 Avatar

    Robert Smith brought me here.

  2. Jaimito El cartero Avatar

    with this song i had a Satori. i was just crying and loving all my self which was the universe as well. it was a very strong felling of love.

  3. Pedro lorca Avatar

    Extraordinary. Genius.

  4. Andy Avatar

    To all those at Reading University on the 20th October, 1978: You fuckin' jammy bastards… Although I did see John much later in a tiny venue up north. That was absolutely lovely.

  5. Leaf N

    This music moves me in ways I can't describe. His heart, his soul, his passion made him such a well loved artist. That said, I never liked John's voice. His music inspired so many people, and so many artists have covered his music. His inspiration carries on into 2021, and that says so very much about his artistry. Much love to him where ever in the universe he may be.

  6. Janice Ward Avatar

    Still listening to this genius of a guy….2021….❤❤❤

  7. Dave Barber Avatar

    This song is so powerful to me when I haven't listened to it for a while it moves me so much that it makes me 😭 what an over looked talent miss you big john R.I.P.

  8. Michael Vout Avatar

    The essence of that time.

  9. Leslie G Price Avatar

    Saw him at Salford College in 77, with Danny Thompson, John Stephens and Paul Kossoff on lead , what a night and they drank a crate of Guinness then started tapping up the audience for drinks ,amazing music,finished up with some really hard blues numbers !!! Love you John and Paul ……♥☮️☯️

  10. Fromtheday Avatar

    you can see how Ben Howard was influenced by this man's magic

  11. paul white Avatar

    He goes 'into the mystic'

  12. Alpha Go Avatar

    Wonderful song, thank you John x

  13. BobbyChariot Avatar

    At this point he was a hybrid of Caravaggio and Kenny Everett.

  14. Patricia Healey Avatar

    Check out liverpool singer mick roach amazing his version of Sunshines better ,, and his track meantime got soul in his voice just like john

  15. henry chalder Avatar

    A musical genius but he was a woman beater…..'The couple married but Martyn's darker side was never far from the surface and he became physically and verbally abusive to his wife'

    1. mistacoopz Avatar

      He was a walking oxymoron:•#

  16. Raghava Avatar

    Gigi Masin brought me here

  17. liam Dixon Avatar

    I was 20 yrs of age out of mind and this came along I’m 63 now and it still has the same effect God bless you Mr Martyn 💙💚🙏

  18. Bonzo Avatar

    theyre was just nowbody else doin stuff like this….still isnt?

  19. Eric O

    What a perfect title for this music. Its that moment late at night when its only yourself with sublime thoughts in a moment that you wish you could live in forever.

  20. skillsteven Avatar

    Genius is an overused word but in this case….

  21. Adam Dreisler Avatar

    Wow… so glad to have discovered this… beautiful… <3

  22. vanhooligan 75 Avatar

    so ahead of his time

  23. Introspective Dreamer Avatar

    I would echo a lot of what other folks below have said, some of the comments are years old so I hope the folks in question are still enjoying the astounding beauty of John's music

  24. Graham Kitching Avatar

    Lucky enough to see him live twice …so humbled and blessed

  25. wheelofsun Avatar

    When you just take into account that he created such music back in the '70 … That is mind blowing!
    Thank you Ben Howard for this album recommendation :))

  26. christian evans Avatar

    Incredibly beautiful…but sad.

  27. Izzy Izzy Avatar

    Goosebumps every time

  28. Barbara Stepien-foad Avatar

    Yet another early hours song…..from my 1970's…..

  29. Mardie Wilson Avatar

    Nothing can ever come close to how you defined generations of love. We are all so privileged to have had you xxx

  30. lizzie Atherfold Avatar

    Saw John at Guildford uni in the 70’s just sublime

  31. The Catholic Network Avatar

    I was at this very gig, and many others by the incredible, insanely talented JM! This song carried me safely through so many dark bedsit days in my youth. I'm 64 now and still give thanks for having none this remarkable man and his music. Probably the best song ever crafted by anyone. Not a day goes by that I don't miss ya, John.

  32. makkapakka Avatar

    It penetrates the soul, what a feeling

  33. Geoff Gunner Avatar

    Lucky enough to see him in concert twice.
    In the late 70s at Hammersmith Odeon
    Then in the 90s in Winchester
    Perfect. Beautiful.

  34. Acoustic Ally Avatar

    John Martyn. Looping since Ed Sheeran's parents were in primary school.

  35. mark Dorman Avatar

    I still listen to this all the time. Reminds me of long summer evenings on Bredon Hill, smoking weed and just getting lost in this beautiful thing. Fantastic.

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