Marti makes Grand return

Marti Pellow

Marti Pellow

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IF there was a dictionary definition of Marti Pellow it would be ‘dishy Scot who makes women go weak at the knees‘.

That was during his heyday in the 80s and 90s when he sold millions of records with Wet Wet Wet. Their single Love Is All Around was, I think I’m correct in saying, number one in the charts for four-and-a-half years.

Or maybe it just felt like it. Whatever, Pellow is a man you have to respect.

But here’s something not many know. Ahead of Pellow’s appearance at the Grand Theatre on Wednesday - an intimate evening of music, including songs from his back catalogue and from the hit shows he has starred in on Broadway and in the West End - the man has revealed his relationship with Blackpool goes back a long way.

In fact in 1977, holidaying in the resort with his family, Pellow entered a talent contest at the Winter Gardens.

“I won too,” he says with a grin. “It was a rainy day and I did it for a laugh really. I was up against a Shirley Temple lookalike. She was pretty good actually but I just about managed to see her off. Highlight of my career!”

He’s also been to the Grand before. “We came to Blackpool a lot because I had an aunty there, so I used go to the Grand as a kid,” he revealed. “I loved it back then, a beautiful place, so to return and play it as a musician - a venue I’ve never played before - is something I’m really looking forward to.”

Those with tickets to see Pellow on Wednesday (and there are still a few remaining if you fancy it) will see a more mature version of a man who had it all a decade or so a go but, unbeknown to his millions of fans, was battling personal demons, including a drug habit.

But in the last 10 years he has reinvented himself both on and off stage and has a successful solo career both as a recording artist and in theatre - appearing in shows like Blood Brothers, Chicago, The Witches of Eastwick, Jekyll and Hyde and The War of the Worlds.

Now 47, he is touring to promote new album Hope - a collection of songs from musical theatre - and says he feels comfortable with the direction his career has taken.

“I’m not interested in trying to play to a certain audience, I‘m not that smart,” he said. “I just like exploring different avenues and doing different things. I’ve still got the Wet Wet Wet songs, all those top 10 hits (25 to be precise) but as an artists you grow.

“My solo work is entirely different to my pop music and I’ve got a lot of other songs now - which is good, because it makes for a very eclectic mix. The main thing is I still enjoy it. Even now, 25 years after I started, I’m having a blast, and I hope that comes over in my performance.”

For those simpering Wet Wet Wet fans among you, Pellow tells me there has be a reason other than a cheque for the band to come back.

“There has to be something different to give the fans rather than just pillaging the back catalogue,” he added. “Nostalgia is great but there needs to be something in it artistically for us as a band. We’ll see what happens.”

In the meantime, Pellow’s show at the Grand on Wednesday starts at 7.30pm. Tickets priced £24.50-£32.50 are available from www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk or the box office on 01253 743339.