Marti Pellow is a Scottish singer, who is best known as the lead vocalist of the band ‘Wet Wet Wet’. He is one of the founding members of the band and remained its lead singer until its eventual split in 2017. Born and raised in Clydebank, Scotland, Marti first became interested in music around the age of seven. He talked to his father about his plans of becoming a musician, but it did not go well, as his father wanted him to join the construction business. In 1982, at the age of 17, Martin started his band with three of his high school friends. It was named ‘Vortex Motion’, but was later rechristened ‘Wet Wet Wet’. In 1987, the soft rock band released their debut album ‘Popped In Souled Out’, which became quite successful. They released six popular albums until 1997, when the band split. However, they reformed in the early 2000s, but failed to reprise their earlier success. In 2007, they released their last album together ‘Timeless’ before splitting again in 2017. In 2001, Marti released his debut solo album ‘Smile’ and has also been working as a solo musician since then.
Childhood & Early Life
Marti Pellow was born as Mark McLachlan on March 23, 1965 in Clydebank, Scotland to Margaret and John McLachlan. He was born into a family whose male members usually worked as construction managers or builders, including his father.
He first discovered the love for music when he was seven years old. It was the time when he got hooked to the compositions of classical American musicians, such as Burt Bacharach, someone his mother was also a big fan of. Marti mostly gravitated towards the soul genre of music when he got exposed to it.
He started appreciating live music as he grew up a bit. By the time he was in his early teenage years, he had decided to become a singer and musician. But his father did not approve of his plans and initially asked him to pursue the family business of construction.
Marti spent most of his childhood years almost alone, having no or very few friends. Aspiring to become a musician without his family’s support had become troublesome for him.
Following his high school graduation, Marti learned painting and sculpting. But before that, he had already met his future band-members in the ‘Clydebank High School’.
Three of his high school friends shared the same musical aspirations as him. They laid the foundation of a band named ‘Vortex Motion’, which they started in 1982 when Marti was training to become a painter and decorator. The name was later changed to ‘Wet Wet Wet’. The 17 years old Marti was quite inexperienced in music at that time.
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In the initial years of its formation, Marti Pellow’s band played cover songs, mostly of the singles by other bands, such as ‘Magazine’ and ‘The Clash’. Just three years after their formation, ‘Wet Wet Wet’ had their first major break when they were signed by the PolyGram entertainment company in 1985.
They recorded their first official single ‘Wishing I Was Lucky’ and presented it to PolyGram, but it was rejected. The band discontinued their association with the company, and the single was released independently. It reached the sixth spot on the UK singles chart.
In 1987, the band released their debut album ‘Popped In Souled Out’ under ‘Mercury Records’. Initially, it charted at the second spot on the UK singles chart, only after Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’, but it reached the top spot in January 1988 and stayed at that position for some time.
Marti’s band ‘Wet Wet Wet’ released their second album ‘The Memphis Sessions’ in 1988. The compilation album peaked at the third spot on the UK Albums Chart. With these back to back successes, the band’s members were enjoying an unprecedented beginning of their musical careers.
The band enjoyed more or less the same success with their subsequent albums, such as ‘Holding Back the River’, ‘High on the Happy Side’, ‘Cloak & Dagger’ and ‘Picture This’.
But the late 1990s came with troubles in the band. Marti was struggling from drug and alcohol abuse problems. On the top of that, the band members wanted to revise the revenue sharing arrangements. All the other members wanted to pay the drummer a little less, as opposed to equal. Marti responded negatively to that and left the band.
In 1999, Marti met Chris Difford of the British Rock band named ‘Squeeze’. Chris helped the Scottish musician begin his solo career by writing lyrics for him.
As a solo artist, Marti released his debut single ‘Close to You’, which was part of his debut solo album ‘Smile’. The album was released in June 2001 under the label ‘Mercury Records’. It was a success, making it to the 7th spot at the UK Albums Chart. The album was also certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry.
In 2001, Marti was signed by the ‘Universal Records’. A year later, he released his second solo album ‘Marti Pellow Sings the Hits of Wet Wet Wet and Smile’. As the title suggests, it was a compilation album, which was nowhere near as successful as his debut album ‘Smile’.
The March 2004 came with good news for ‘Wet Wet Wet’ fans, as the band regrouped and started working on their eighth studio album together. The album ‘Timeless’ was subsequently released in 2007. However, it struggled to perform at the UK albums chart
The album peaked at the 41st spot, becoming the worst performing ‘Wet Wet Wet album ever. Meanwhile, Marti continued with his solo career. His subsequent albums managed to achieve average success. Some of his albums, such as ‘Love to Love’ and ‘Hope’, even failed to chart at the UK Albums Chart.
Family & Personal Life
Marti Pellow is in a long-term relationship with former model Eileen Catterson. There have been rumours that the couple has got married, but there is no confirmation to that yet.
‘Wet Wet Wet’ members were present at Marti’s mother’s funeral in 2003. It was a good gesture, considering the band had split on bad terms in the late 1990s. Marti revealed his mother always believed that the band would be back together soon, and it did.
He is a life-long fan of the Scottish football club, ‘Rangers’.
Marti has struggled from drug and heroin addiction for a very long time. He disclosed that his addiction to drugs had become so bad that he was unable to function without them. According to him, he is clean now.