By Robert K. Oermann
Friends and family will gather on Thursday (5/16) and Friday (5/17) to honor the memory of Nashville songwriter Glenn Martin.
The Grammy-nominated tunesmith died on Sunday, May 12, at age 86.
Martin wrote top hits for such Country Music Hall of Fame members as Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, Bill Anderson and George Jones. Among his best-known songs are Pride’s “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” (1970), Haggard’s “It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad)” (1972) and Tammy Wynette’s “I Still Believe in Fairy Tales” (1975).
During his career, Martin had more than 200 cuts. He was also a song publisher. In addition, Glenn Martin is the father of hit country writers Tony Martin (“No Place That Far,” “Third Rock From the Sun,” “Just to See You Smile,” “You Look Good in My Shirt,” etc.) and Troy Martin (“Baby’s Gotten Good at Goodbye,” “She Can’t Say I Didn’t Cry,” “Not on Your Love,” etc.).
Glenn Martin was born in Cumming, GA on June 30, 1932 and was raised in Atlanta. He joined the U.S. Air Force after his high school graduation and was stationed in Germany during the Korean War.
Following his military service, Martin worked for Bell South. Next, he opened his own furniture and music stores. Weekly jamborees at the music emporium put him in contact with Nashville musicians and songwriters. They urged him to move to Music City.
Glenn Martin’s first songwriting successes occurred in 1969 when Ray Price recorded “April’s Fool” and Bobby Bare released “Which One Will It Be.” Both songs became top-20 country hits.
He scored his first No. 1 hit with the Grammy-nominated “San Antone” in 1970, and Pride returned to Martin’s catalog for “I’m Just Me” which became a No. 1 hit in 1971.
Haggard brought the songwriter back to the top of the charts again in 1972 with “It’s Not Love.” In 1974, Red Sovine scored a hit with “It’ll Come Back.” This song was revived on the charts by Sovine in 1980.
The songwriter’s heyday was in the 1970s. Among the artists who recorded Martin’s tunes were such Hall of Fame members as Buck Owens, Jean Shepard, Charlie McCoy, Eddy Arnold, Don Gibson, Emmylou Harris, Ernest Tubb and Mel Tillis.
In the latter part of his most successful decade, Martin had hits with “Memories of Us” (George Jones, 1975), “Fairy Tales” (Wynette, 1975), “Liars One Believers Zero” (Bill Anderson, 1976), “The Pay Phone” (Bob Luman, 1977) and “Where Are You Going, Billy Boy” (Bill Anderson & Mary Lou Turner, 1977).
Haggard’s big 1977 country hit with Martin’s co-written “If We’re Not Back in Love By Monday” also became an r&b smash for Millie Jackson that year as “If You’re Not Back in Love By Monday.”
Others who recorded his tunes include Wanda Jackson, Cal Smith, Norma Jean, Neal McCoy, Donna Fargo, Keith Whitley, Jack Greene, Freddy Fender, Ed Bruce and Moe Bandy.
Glenn Martin was one of the 1970 co-founders of the NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International), which initially lobbied to get songwriters’ credits on recordings. The organization continues to lobby for songwriters’ interests today. He was also regarded as a mentor by many younger Music City songwriters.
Martin is survived by his wife, Teresa and his eight children. In addition to songwriters Tony and Troy, these are K. Trent Martin, J. Trace Martin, Todd C. Martin, Tiffany K. Earl, Tim C. Martin and Tiffany M, Tournaud. He is also survived by his sister Eleanor Marguerite Brown, by 34 grandchildren and by 16 great grandchildren.
The first Gathering of Friends and Family will take place on Thursday afternoon, May 16, 4-8 p.m. at Brentwood Roesch-Patton Funeral Home, 9010 Church Street, Brentwood, TN 37027.
The second Gathering of Friends and Family is scheduled for Friday, May 17, 10-11 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1646 Sunset Rd., Brentwood, TN 37027. The church will then host a Celebration of Life service from 11-noon.
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