Rock and roll veteran Marty Wilde: If I could do it again I wouldn’t wear a suit
The British singer reflected on his fame as he approached his 80th birthday.
Rock and roll veteran Marty Wilde has said he regrets not going his own way during the early days of his 60-year career.
The singer – who scored a string of hits in the 50s and 60s with songs such as A Teenager In Love – said he wished he had defied his management who encouraged him to adopt a clean-cut image.
Wilde said that, like his contemporaries Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley, he had been more of a “loose” and “rough” character, adding he regretted not showing that on stage longer.
He said: “I think you have to go your own way. I wish I’d gone my own way in many other things.
“If you take, for example, Elvis and Cliff and me, we were loose figures.
“We weren’t in suits and collars and bow-ties, which they wanted. We didn’t sing lovely ballads. We were a lot rougher than that.
“They changed us. Maybe in a way, just for a little bit longer we should have had an extra year of being rough.
“But we were changed. We were influenced by management, which is natural.”
The Blackheath-born musician added: “I wish I’d never worn a suit. I wish I’d always worn what I wanted to wear, which was flashy shirts and flashy jackets.”
Wilde spoke to the Press Association ahead of his 80th birthday this month which he will celebrate with the release of a compilation of tracks he has penned over the years.
Surrounded by his daughter Kim, who found fame in the 80s with the hit song Kids In America, his songwriter son Ricky and wife Joyce, Wilde told how music held them together from his family home in Hertfordshire.
He said: “Music is, by and large, the glue that holds the family together.
“Love of music. We all love music and we all love art. Music and art.”
The album, part of the Dreamboats & Petticoats anthology, includes a new song written for his friend, US rockabilly musician Eddie Cochran, who died in a traffic accident in 1960 aged 21.
In the 70s and 80s Wilde penned chart-topping songs for his daughter and Dire Straits among others. Today he continues to tour extensively.
He was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to music and the role he played in bringing US rock and roll to UK audiences.
Wilde added: “Music to me is one of the greatest emotions. It’s my religion. I’m not a religious person and so music has taken over that role.
“I find it very spiritual in its own way. It can make me cry. It can make me laugh. It hits me deep down where nothing else reaches.
“I can hear something and I can’t even explain it, maybe none of us can.
“They call it soul, that’s one of the tags they put on it. Call it what you want but it hits me.
“It doesn’t have to be rock and roll. It can be classical. It can be some girls singing or an artist or folk thing or whatever. But it effects me in a lovely way.”
Dreamboats & Petticoats Presents: The Very Best Of Marty Wilde is released on April 12 and his UK tour begin on May 7.