Mary Martin Country Music
Source YouTube: folkarchivist, 60 Minutes Australia

An unsung hero in the world of country music has sadly passed away.

Mary Martin, who was widely considered to be a hero for folk and rock music behind the scenes, died last Thursday after battling a mystery illness. She was 85 years-old.

Martin’s Death

Martin was a manager and executive who helped start the careers of legendary stars like Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, and Keith Urban. She was arguably best known for her ties to Bob Dylan, first rubbing shoulders with him in the early 1960s, before later winning a Grammy for an album in which he was featured.

“Time and again, Mary Martin spotted great talents and elevated their careers,” Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young said in a statement posted to Instagram. Martin was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame seventeen years ago.

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Greatest Lady In Music You Probably Never Heard About’

Fans paid tribute to Martin in the comments section of the post. One comment in particular perfectly sums up just what an unsung hero she truly was.

“The greatest lady in music you probably never heard about,” the comment read. “Half of the people represented in my music collection probably benefited from her insight, intelligence and uncanny musical sense.”

Martin had a career in the country music world that spanned forty years. She got her start as an assistant for the legendary manager Albert Grossman. His clients included Dylan, Janis Joplin, Peter, Paul & Mary, Gordon Lightfoot, and more.

After working for Grossman for four years in the 1960s, Martin later branched out on her own. She savvily used the business connections that she’d made through her former boss to her advantage. This helped Martin to become a power player in the industry.

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Martin Recalls Dylan Story

Indeed, Martin was also known for her feisty nature. In a 2009 interview with the Country Music Hall of Fame, Martin specifically recalled unsuccessfully trying to get Dylan to sign with Warner Bros back in 1973.

“The first thing I do on Warner Bros. stationary is write Bob Dylan a letter,” she recalled.

“And the letter sort of goes on for a while… I sort of suggested to Bob that he could work with me at Warner Bros.,” Martin later added. “He was sort of getting ready to take a journey from Columbia, this would be a great time for him to come work for Warner Bros.”

Martin went on to slam the “bloody gatekeepers” who likely kept the letter away from Dylan. Much to Martin’s frustrations, she said that this was a common practice in the industry.

“That pissed me off,” she said.

Check out that full interview in the video below.

Martin died in Nashville, Tennessee, where she had lived for the past 40 years. Please join us in saying a prayer for her family and friends.

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