R.I.P. Martin Armiger of The Sports 1949-2019 - Noise11.com
The Sports reformed to play three shows at the Memo Music Hall in St Kilda. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Martin Armiger, The Sports. Photo: Ros O'Gorman

R.I.P. Martin Armiger of The Sports 1949-2019

by Paul Cashmere on November 28, 2019

in News,Noise Pro

Australian guitarist and producer Martin Armiger has passed away suddenly in France. He was 70.

Martin’s brother Keith Armiger announced the passing saying, “Dear friends, with much sadness I’m letting you know that our beloved brother and friend Martin passed away peacefully yesterday in France”.

Sports singer Stephen Cummings has also made a statement. “Sad news. All my love to Martin’s wife Maureen, daughters Kelly and Claudia and to his brothers and family. Over forty years of friendship. Martin was a generous, talented person and knew how to enjoy life. I’m genuinely shocked and can’t think of anything else.” he posted to Facebook.

John Martin Armiger was born in the UK in 1949. His family migrated to Adelaide, South Australia in 1965. Martin moved to Melbourne in 1975 and formed The Toads, with Jane Clifton on lead vocals.

Martin Armiger composed music for his first musical ‘A Night In Rio’ that year soon followed the music for the film ‘Pure Shit’ with Red Symons. Next came the band The Bleeding Hearts, with Rick Grossman on bass. Rick would go on to become a member of Divinyls, Matt Finish and Hoodoo Gurus.

Martin had a stint in The High Rise Bombers, featuring a young Paul Kelly, before he join The Sports and Kelly formed The Dots.

The Sports formed in 1976 with Stephen Cummings on vocals. They became known by the songs ‘Boys! (What Did The Detective Say?)’ and a cover of ‘When You Walk in the Room’ before cracking the Top 40 with ‘Who Listens To The Radio’.

The Sports broke up in 1981 after four albums.

Armiger then became a record producer and session musician. He worked on Marc Hunter’s ‘Big City Talk’, Paul Kelly’s ‘Talk’ and then got back to his theatrical beginnings as musical director of the TV show ‘Sweet and Sour’.

In 1985 Martin won the ARIA Award for Producer of the Year.

Martin then wrote the music for the ABC TV series ‘Stringer’ which spun off the album ‘You’ve Always Got The Blues’ with Kate Ceberano and Wendy Matthews. Armiger also scored the movie ‘Young Einstein’.

His television work continued with ‘Come In Spinner’ featuring Vince Jones and Grace Knight and ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ featuring Paul Kelly, Deborah Conway and Renee Geyer.

In 1998 The Sports reformed for Mushroom 25 Live, to mark the 25th anniversary of Mushroom Records. In 2004 Martin was made Head of Screen Composition for the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

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