Reginald Leonard Smith was born on 15 April 1936 in London, England.After playing briefly in a skiffle group, this UK rock 'n' roll singer secured a residency at London's Condor Club under the name Reg Patterson. He was spotted by songwriter Lionel Bart, who subsequently informed entrepreneur Larry Parnes. The starmaker was keen to sign the singer and rapidly took over his career. Reg Smith henceforth became Marty Wilde. The Christian name was coined from the sentimental film Marty while the surname was meant to emphasize the wilder side of Marty's nature.
Parnes next arranged a record deal with Philips Records, but Marty's initial singles, including a reading of Jimmie Rodgers' 'Honeycomb', failed to chart. Nevertheless, Marty was promoted vigorously and appeared frequently on BBC Television's pop music programme, 6.5 Special. Extensive media coverage culminated with a hit recording of Jody Reynolds' alluringly morbid 'Endless Sleep' in 1957.

Soon afterwards, Parnes persuaded the influential producer Jack Good to make Marty the resident star of his new television programme Oh Boy! The arrangement worked well for Marty until Jack Good objected to his single 'Misery's child' and vetoed the song. Worse followed when Jack effectively replaced Marty with a new singing star, Cliff Richard. Before long, Cliff had taken Marty's mantle as the UK's premier teen idol and was enjoying consistent hits. Marty, meanwhile, was gradually changing his image. After considerable success with such songs as 'Donna', 'Teenager in love', 'Sea of love' and his own composed 'Bad boy', he veered away from rock 'n' roll.

His marriage to Joyce Baker of the Vernons Girls was considered a bad career move at the time, and partly contributed to Marty's announcement that he would henceforth be specializing in classy, Frank Sinatra-style ballads. For several months he hosted a new pop show, Boy meets Girl, and later starred in the West End production of Bye Bye Birdie.
Although Parnes was intent on promoting Marty Wilde as an actor, the star was resistant to such a move. His last major success was with a version of Bobby Vee's 'Rubber Ball' in 1961. Later in the decade he recorded for several labels, including a stint as the Wilde Three with his wife Joyce, and future Moody Blues' vocalist Justin Hayward.

Marty enjoyed considerable radio play and was unfortunate not to enjoy a belated hit with the catchy 'Abergavenny' in 1969. (Mind you, this song didn't do well in the UK, but it was Marty's only hit in the Netherlands). Marty also scored some success as the writer of hits like Status Quo's 'Ice in the sun'. By the 70s, Marty was managing his son Ricky who was briefly promoted as Britain's answer to Little Jimmy Osmond. Ricky later achieved success as a songwriter for Kim Wilde, who would go on to achieve far greater chart fame in the UK and USA than her father.

In 1994, Marty Wilde appeared at London's Royal Albert Hall with Brenda Lee, Joe Brown, Eden Kane and John Leyton in the nostalgic Solid Gold Rock 'n' Roll Show. As you know the show had its fifth aniversary this year (1999).

In 1995 Marty presented Coffee Bar Kids, a BBC Radio 2 documentary programme that told of the beginnings of rock 'n' roll in Britain.

This information was taken from: the virgin encyclopedia of popular music by Colin Larkin. Go and buy it at your local bookshop. It's got over 3000 entries and it's a must for every music lover.

On October 31st 1999 me and my friends Anja and Arthur went to Woking to see Marty, Joe, Eden, John and the Vernons girls. Unfortunately we weren't able to buy a programme but Arthur and I did get to meet Marty after the show.

I must say I felt a bit strange waiting there at the stagedoor. There were some fans of my mum's age waiting for Marty too. We had to wait for more than half an hour before Marty came down. It seemed though someone had told him we were waiting for him, 'cause he didn't leave in his car right after but he went back inside again.


I told Marty we came all the way from the Netherlands to see the show and I let him know we loved the concert. Marty said he thought he would do a gig in the Netherlands in 2000, when I asked him if he would come over sometime.

As you can see we had our picture taken. All in all it was a very short meeting, but I can say Marty is as nice a person to meet as Kim. He was very patient and he seemed a bit surprised we didn't ask him to sign something. Dumb, dumb, we didn't think of our theathre ticket and we had forgotten to bring some record sleeves to sign. Personally, I didn't really mind, 'cause I already have a letter and two signed photos.


When Marty went back up the stairs I asked him to send our love to Kim and to wish her good luck for January. It was as if he was surprised that we knew about Kim's pregnancy, but he didn't say anything.

If you get a chance to see Marty live on stage, don't hesitate, just go. The man still knows how to rock and roll.

The Wildcats

Eddie Allen (guitar), Roger Newell (bass), Neville Marten (guitar), Brian Fitzpatrick (drums)




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