Marty didn’t just live through the heady excitement of the 60s. He helped make it happen.
“The time that I lived in was the most important time in terms of modern popular music,” Marty says. “We opened up the can and the contents came out!”
The point is that Marty made his mark just as it was all kicking off, as a teenager in 1957.
Whilst running from office to office in the day time with the latest market prices of pepper and rubber, a young Marty would daydream about his future and window-gaze in all the expensive tailor shops just hoping something might happen for him.
His dream was to be a singing star. His good fortune was to be approached by Joe Brunnely, a music publisher.
Joe offered Marty two weeks work as a solo artist in the West End of London. While earning £1 a night plus a bowl of spaghetti, Marty was noticed by Larry Parnes who, as Tommy Steele’s manager, was the most powerful manager in the UK. The following day Larry headed down to Greenwich with a contract in his pocket and approached Marty’s parents to sign him up as Marty was under age. The contract was signed and the career of Marty Wilde had begun...
Between 1958 and 1962 Marty had 13 consecutive hit records, including Endless Sleep, Donna, Teenager In Love, Sea of Love, the self-penned Bad Boy and Rubber Ball.
“I was 17. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t even know what a bowl of spaghetti was. But Larry Parnes signed me up. He was Tommy Steele’s manager. He was like the Simon Cowell of his day.
“He had been tipped off by Lionel Bart who had seen me. I was working in night clubs, getting one pound a night and then I would catch the last bus. I left school when I was 15. I wasn’t ignorant, but I was ignorant of the world. I am still learning now!”
For a long career, though, Marty is clear on one thing: “You need a lot of good fortune and you have got to be motivated in what you do. It is hard work. It is not easy. If you get the break, you need to lot of hard work to maintain it, but the really important thing is that you have must constant ideas. No one does that better than Madonna. She has managed to reinvent herself time and time again.
“I was luckier than Madonna in some ways. I came in for rock ‘n’ roll. It was at the beginning of pop music, real pop music, and to be part of that was a real privilege. It really was the most exciting time to be alive as a teenager in the mid-50s when rock ‘n’ roll first came in.”
Of course, it wasn’t long, though, before the advent of the bands, with the rise of The Beatles, The Stones et al. That’s when fresh ideas were doubly important – especially for the solo performers, seemingly shoved aside.
“It affected me in a bad way. It was time for me to move on for a while and do other things. I had to be as versatile as possible. I started to work in shows and in films and so on. For that particular time, I had to try my hand at many things.”
Writing – and he wishes he had done more – was one of them, penning hits for Lulu (I’m A Tiger), and Status Quo (Ice In The Sun). The 80s saw Marty continue writing, this time for his daughter Kim Wilde, who enjoyed a string of hits both in the UK and abroad, with anthems such as Kids In America.
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