Martin Robert Turner (born 1 October 1947, Torquay, Devon) is an English musician best known for his time as the bass guitarist, lead vocalist and a founding member of the rock band, Wishbone Ash.
Turner was with Wishbone Ash, known for their twin lead guitars, melodic songwriting and complex instrumental style, from its inception in 1969 until 1980, during which time he was a key songwriter and creative force within the band. He played on their classic album Argus to which he also contributed vocals as well the bulk of the album’s lyrics. Turner’s melodic basslines, where the instrument was often used as a third lead guitar, were an important part of the Wishbone Ash sound during the 1970s.
In 1980, a decision by the rest of Wishbone Ash to introduce a frontman led to Turner parting company with Wishbone Ash. The frontman never appeared and Turner was replaced by John Wetton, who was formerly with King Crimson, Uriah Heep, Family and Roxy Music. Turner went on to a career in studio management and record production and also formed his own band The Wolfgang (also known as Bamboo and Martin Turner’s Stolen Face). The Wolfgang recorded new material, although this was not released until 1996, when it appeared on Turner’s solo album, Walking The Reeperbahn.
In 1987 the original quartet reformed, and Turner produced and performed on the albums Nouveau Calls, Here to Hear and Strange Affair as well as undertaking worldwide touring with the band between 1988–1991. In late 1991 Wishbone Ash decided to continue without Turner. He has, however, appeared with Wishbone Ash on several occasions since, most notably the band’s 25th anniversary celebrations in 1995/96, as well as being involved in the mixing and remastering of several back catalogue, compilation and archival Wishbone Ash CD titles.
In 1996, Turner released Walking the Reeperbahn, featuring material spanning the years 1981–1996.
In 2005, he formed a new band, Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash to perform music from the definitive era of Wishbone Ash. The band’s first line-up included guitarists Ray Hatfield and Keith Buck plus drummer Rob Hewins. Their current line-up now includes guitarists Misha Nikolic, Danny Willson (former member of Showaddywaddy) and drummer Tim Brown. Their debut release, entitled New Live Dates Vol.1 was released in 2006, followed by New Live Dates Vol. 2 in 2007. Both featured a guest appearance by original Wishbone Ash member Ted Turner.
Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash have since released Argus: Through The Looking Glass, a 2008 re-recording of Wishbone Ash’s seminal album, and Life Begins Tour a 2CD/DVD recording of a performance at Leicester Y Theatre in March 2010.
In July 2012 Martin Turner published his autobiography No Easy Road – My Life and Times With Wishbone Ash and Beyond through his www.martinturnermusic.com website. The book chronicles the classic Wishbone Ash years, as well as Turner’s personal journey, and contained contributions from former Wishbone Ash members Ted Turner (who also wrote the foreword to the book), Laurie Wisefield and Ray Weston, as well as other key figures in the story.
Following court action pursued by Andy Powell to prevent Martin Turner using the name “Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash”, in 2014 Martin Turner’s touring activities were re-branded as “Martin Turner plays the music of Wishbone Ash”.
In 2015, Martin Turner produced a new album, Written In The Stars. The sound is reminiscent of the classic Wishbone Ash sound from the 1970s, and has received mostly favourable reviews.
Turner regularly performs playing a white Gibson Thunderbird bass guitar, which he bought from Peter Overend Watts of Mott the Hoople.
- Walking the Reeperbahn (1996)
Track Listing (all songs by Martin Turner except as shown) –
- Fire Sign
- Walking the Reeperbahn
- Hot Surrender
- My Brother
- Strangers (Turner/Price-Davies)
- Psychic Flash to Ginza
- Lean On Me (Bill Withers)
- Kelly’s Away With The Fairies
- Where Will I Go ?
- The Naked Truth
- Heaven Is
- Broken Down House
- Argus: Through The Looking Glass (2008)
- Written in the Stars (2015)
- New Live Dates Volume 1 (2006)
- New Live Dates Volume 2 (2007)
- Life begins 2CD (2011)
- The Garden Party – A Celebration Of Wishbone Ash Music 2CD (2014)