Along with George Martin, Paul Buckmaster, and Richard Hewson, Martyn Ford is one of that small fraternity of classically trained musicians who have made their way in rock. Originally a French horn student at the Royal Academy of Music, Ford founded an orchestra of his own during his senior year at the music school which gave their first concert at Royal Albert Hall just a few months after his graduation. Ford kept the group together and they were eventually discovered by the rock world just as it was discovering the usefulness of classical musicians in creating new sounds. Ford was engaged as an arranger, and his orchestra was used by the likes of Bryan Ferry (Another Time, Another Place), Ginger Baker (Baker-Gurvitz Army), Johnny Nash (My Merry-Go-Round), Three Man Army, and Elton John (Blue Moves) in the mid-'70s and he also worked on the soundtrack of Tommy. By the next decade, he'd moved on to work with Kate Bush on Never for Ever, Phil Collins on Hello, I Must Be Going), and Dave Davies on Chosen People. He was also the conductor and arranger for several of Caravan's early albums, most notably Caravan & the New Symphonia, and worked in sessions playing French horn on one of the Spencer Davis Group's early-'70s albums.
The Martyn Ford Orchestra has made records of its own on rare occasions, beginning in 1976 with the release of the LP Smoovin, which featured the services of Mike Moran, Ann Odell, Simon Phillips, Morris Pert, John Gustafson, and Mel Collins. Their repertory ranged from classic Steve Winwood/Spencer Davis Group numbers to pieces written by the Band and '40s film music, to jazz and new age pieces by Ralph Towner.