Linda Martin

Irish singer

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Linda Martin
Martin in May 2013
Martin in May 2013
Background information
Born (1952-03-27) 27 March 1952 (age 70)[1]
Belfast, Northern Ireland
GenresPop, pop-rock, MOR
Years active1969–present
LabelsCBS, Polydor, Rex, Spider, WEA

Linda Martin (born 27 March 1952)[1] is a singer and television presenter from Northern Ireland. She is best known in Europe as the winner of the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Why Me?", and in Ireland as a member of the 1970s/1980s band Chips.[2]


Martin is of Irish, Scottish and Italian ancestry. Her father's family's surname was originally Martini. Her paternal great-grandfather Francis Martini was born in Dublin to immigrants from Saronno, north of Milan, Italy. Two of Martin's maternal great-grandparents, William Green and Elizabeth Nangle, had a coal-mining background; they had transferred to Belfast from Larkhall, Scotland.[3]



Martin began her musical career when she joined the band Chips in Omagh in 1969. They quickly became one of the top bands in Ireland on the live circuit, and released hit singles "Love Matters", "Twice a Week" and "Goodbye Goodbye" during the mid-to-late 1970s.[4] In 1972, Martin left Chips to be a vocalist with new group Lyttle People, but rejoined her former bandmates the following year.[2]

The group appeared on Opportunity Knocks in 1974 and appeared a number of times on British television promoting their singles, but never scored a UK hit.[2] With multiple entries to the Irish National finals of the Eurovision Song Contest, the band carried on into the 1980s. They scored a final Irish hit in 1982 with "David's Song", after which Martin left when she won the Castlebar Song Contest with "Edge of the Universe" in 1983. From this point she concentrated on a solo career as well as occasional live appearances with Chips until they recruited a new lead singer (Valerie Roe) in the late 1980s.

Eurovision Song Contest

She participated in the National Song Contest four times as a member of Chips; however, they did not score successfully. She participated another four times in the contest as a soloist and once more as part of the group 'Linda Martin and Friends'.[5] With nine participations, she has been the most frequent entrant in the National Song Contest's history. She won the contest twice, going on to represent Ireland twice at the Eurovision Song Contest.

The first of these victories was in 1984 with the song "Terminal 3", written by Johnny Logan (under his real name Séan Sherrard). The song came second in the final, being beaten by eight points. "Terminal 3" reached No. 7 in the Irish charts.[6] The second victory was in 1992 when her song "Why Me" (also written by Logan) went on to win the final in Sweden. This became Ireland's fourth victory in the Eurovision Song Contest, and the song reached No. 1 in the Irish chart as well as becoming a hit in many European countries.[6]

Martin was, at the time, one of only three artists to finish both first and second at Eurovision, behind Lys Assia and Gigliola Cinquetti. Since then, only Elisabeth Andreassen and Dima Bilan have achieved this, raising the number to five. Martin was the first of the three artists to finish second first and first second, matched only later by Bilan.[7]


She has presented the RTÉ quiz show The Lyrics Board, one of the broadcaster's more popular formats. She served as one of Louis Walsh's behind-the-scenes team on the first series of ITV's The X Factor.

She also served as a judge on the first, second and fourth seasons of RTÉ's You're a Star and on Charity You're a Star in summer 2005 and summer 2006. She was dismissed from the 2007 season, however, speaking on Saturday Night with Miriam on RTÉ television on 28 July 2007, she insisted that she was "open" to being invited back on to the show. Martin has not ruled out a return to Eurovision following Ireland's dismal performance in the 2007 contest finishing last with only five points.

She was a guest performer at Congratulations, the 50th anniversary Eurovision concert in Copenhagen, Denmark, in October 2005. Martin was also the Irish spokesperson for Eurovision Song Contest 2007 and was one of the five judges for Eurosong 2009 (Irish Selection for Eurovision). In 2012, she was the mentor for Jedward in the Irish Eurovision final Eurosong 2012.[8]

During the interval of Eurovision 2013, the host Petra Mede presented a light-hearted history of the contest, during which she explained to viewers that Johnny Logan had won the competition three times, in 1980, 1987 and 1992. Appearing alongside Linda Martin in some vintage footage she joked that he had won the third time disguised as a woman, saying, "I recognise a drag queen when I see one". The joke proved controversial, particularly in the Irish media. However, on 1 June 2013, during an appearance on RTÉ's The Saturday Night Show Martin claimed that she had actually benefited from all the publicity.[9] On the same show she performed a cover of the song "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk.


Martin has also appeared in pantomime, in Dublin. She starred in Cinderella as the Wicked Stepmother, Snow White as the Evil Queen and Robin Hood as herself, at the Olympia Theatre.

She toured Menopause the Musical with Irish entertainer Twink. While on tour, Twink described Martin as a "cunt" during a tirade in May 2010. The two had been friends for 30 years but both said afterward that they had no plans to speak to each other again.[10][11]

Selected discography

Singles with Chips

Date Single[2] Irish Charts
1971 "Today I Killed a Man" -
"Sock It to 'Em Sister Nell" -
1973 "Open Your Eyes" -
1974 "King Kong"(as Lily and Chips)[12] -
"My World" -
1975 "Love Matters" 6
"Twice a Week" 13
1976 "I'm a Song (Sing Me)" -
1977 "Shine a Light" -
"Goodbye Goodbye" 2
1978 "Here in My Arms" (or "It's Over") -
"The Sooner The Better" -
1980 "Automobile" -
1981 "New Romance (It's a Mystery)" -
1982 "David's Song (Who'll Come With Me)" 13
"Hi-Lowe" -

Singles (solo)

Date Single Record Label Irish Charts
1983 "Edge of the Universe" Lunar 20
1984 "Terminal 3" CBS 7
"Body Works" 19
1987 "Miles of Eyes" Mystery records -
1988 "Liffey Tinker" Plaza -
"Hiding from Love" EMI 22
1989 "Impossible to Do" Plaza -
1990 "Where the Boys Are" K-Tel 19
1991 "Did You Ever?" (with Mick McCarthy) 15
1992 "Why Me?" Columbia 1
2016 "Why Me? Remixed" Energise -
2017 "Won't Stop" Powerworld Music -

Personal life

Martin was in a relationship with the musician Paul Lyttle from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.[16][better source needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b Sources seem to vary on Martin's date of birth. On 14 April 2019, the Sunday Independent stated that Martin was 72. On 21 April 2019, the Sunday Independent writer noted that Martin had "contacted us to say she was actually 67 on March 27" Archived 24 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d Chips Archived 18 February 2021 at the Wayback Machine m; accessed 14 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Who do you think you are?" Archived 3 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 14 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Chips and Linda Martin in the Irish Charts". Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2008.
  5. ^ "National song contests – Ireland". Archived from the original on 13 April 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  6. ^ a b Irish Eurovision songs in the Charts – Linda Martin Archived 2 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 14 October 2016.
  7. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest – The Official History. Carlton Books 2007. ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  8. ^ Hondal, Victor (2 November 2011). "Ireland: RTÉ to repeat 2011 selection formula". Archived from the original on 4 November 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Ireland: Linda Martin Gets Lucky, Responds to "Drag Queen Slur"". Wiwi Bloggs. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  10. ^ How I overheard 'pal' Twink's two-hour four-letter rant about me to cast, 21 May 2010.
  11. ^ Feuding Twink and Linda keep their distance Archived 11 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine Irish Independent, 25 August 2010.
  12. ^ Barclay Records #62003 (France)
  13. ^ "Irish charts searchable database". Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  14. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 352. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  15. ^ "Dutch Charts "Why Me?"". Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  16. ^ "'Chips' (Irish Showbands)". Archived from the original on 18 February 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2021.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Winner of the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Preceded by Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Preceded by Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Preceded by Eurovision Song Contest Ireland Commentator
Succeeded by
Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Linda Martin