She began singing at the age of 11 with her eldest brother's band. After his untimely death, she decided to pursue a career in music as a tribute. She had released a number of standards in the 1970s on the Pye record label and drew crowds at cabarets. Her cover of the song "One Day at a Time", written by Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson, reached the top of the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in November 1979.
Her follow-up singles failed to chart, so she has the dubious honour of being classified as a one-hit wonder, though this should be viewed in the context that she was hugely successful and had a BBC tv show which was also hugely successful. She once owned two Betamax video recorders on which she used to record Coronation St for her mother while away on tour. At that time, only three hour tapes were available, and a long tour would amount to more than three hours of lena, hence the need for two recorders. She placed six albums in the UK Albums Chart between 1974 and 1980, including four that reached the Top 20.
Although out of the limelight for a while nursing her sick mother, Martell has now returned to the music industry, and is still touring the UK. She has released a few albums on the ScotDisc label. Her double album One Day at a Time: An Anthology of Song was released on Castle Records in 2003.
- List of artists who reached number one on the UK Singles Chart
- List of performers on Top of the Pops
- One-hit wonders in the UK
- Profile, imdb.com; accessed 30 August 2015.
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