Marti Pellow on success, songwriting and sobriety: ‘Every day I punch addiction in the face!’

With Wet Wet Wet, Pellow was one of the biggest-selling musicians of the 90s. But heroin and alcohol soon became a problem. He talks about heroes, love and conquering his demons

Marti Pellow remembers his introduction to booze clearly. He was a young boy, about 11, and he sneaked a can of beer from his father. “I knew as soon as I had my first drink that it made me feel different,” he says. “I had a fuzzy feeling in my stomach. I liked the rush of that. It made me feel light.” By the time he was 12, he would go to dances with his friends and alcohol would give him dutch courage. “I’d ask an adult to buy me a couple of cans of lager. It gave me a wee bit more confidence to ask a girl to dance; it made me feel larger than life.”

Pellow went on to become the frontman of Wet Wet Wet, the blue-eyed soul band whose version of Love Is All Around, as featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral, topped the charts for 15 weeks and is still the UK’s biggest-selling love song. By the time he left Wet Wet Wet for the first time in 1998, three of their five studio albums had topped the UK charts (with the others peaking at No 2) and they had had 26 Top 40 hits. By then, he had also developed a dual addiction to alcohol and heroin that could easily have done for him. It did pretty much do for him, as far as the band was concerned. Sure, he rejoined in 2003, and they spent another 14 years together, but they never enjoyed the same success again.

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