Friday, 16 March 2012

Loch Ness Giant

Born in Camberwell, London, to Irish parents in 1948 Martin Ruane – better known in the UK at least as Giant Haystacks – was a professional wrestler known for his huge height (6’11”) and enormous weight – 48 stone at his heaviest.

He also, in 1983, released this slice of hokum his one and only single Baby I Need You. Supplied once again by Mick Dillingham, I haven’t bothered to include the b-side of this particular audio catastrophe as it was just an instrumental version – the same track without the vocal.

Martin was a big baby, weighing 14 lb 6 oz at birth. Although born in Camberwell by the age of three his family decided to up sticks and relocated to Salford, Greater Manchester, a city which would remain home for the rest of his life. As a young man he worked as a labourer and as a nightclub bouncer before, in 1967, embarking on a career in professional wrestling. Beginning with the stage name Luke McMasters, by the early 1970s he adopted the name Giant Haystacks, after the American wrestling star Haystacks Calhoun.

 In 1975 Martin, or Giant if you prefer, joined forces with fellow wrestler Big Daddy (who, rather splendidly, had been christened by his parents Shirley Crabtree) and the pair worked as heels (a wrestling term for bad guys), gaining notoriety on TV for the brutality of their act (don’t for one second think that professional wrestling was anything more than choreographed, calculated entertainment). Dressed in his trademark caveman outfit, Martin reputedly ate three pounds of bacon and a dozen eggs every morning to maintain his strength.

Giant Haystacks was the man that everyone loved to hate but, according to those who knew him, Martin was a sensitive, intelligent and deeply religious man devoted to family. Earlier in his life he had ambitions to be a musician but his inability to master an instrument because of his huge hands put paid to this. As many as 16 million viewers would tune in to ITV's World of Sport on a Saturday afternoon to watch him wrestle. Fame for the pair was assured but in 1977 Big Daddy decided to change his act, became a hero (also known as a blue-eye or, in America especially, face) and they dissolved their tag team partnership, becoming sworn enemies – in the ring at least – until Big Daddy retired in 1993.

In 1996, at the age of 48, Martin began wrestling in the United States under the ring name Loch Ness and fought with Hulk Hogan. However ant chance of his finding fame in the States was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer. He returned home to Salford, where he died in 1998.



  1. 3/18/12 wrote:
    Interesting record from a pro-wrestler. Granted, many pro-wrestling records are garbage (anyone for "Another Hulkster In Heaven"in terms for vileness?)However, there are rare exceptions to this rule, such as the late "Classy" Fred Blassie's"Pencil Neck Geek" single and "King Of Men" EP that followed. True, Blassie wasn't a great singer no better than any other pro-wrestler placed in front of a recording mike,but at least he was funny. "Haystacks" I've never heard of ,probably because he was before my time,but these old-school wrestlers had interesting personalities. Didn't WWE empire kingpin Vince McMahon team "Haystacks" up with Hillbilly jim for a time during the 1980's? I don't remember, but he sure looked like a distant cousin of that "hick" wrestler. BTW, I'm looking for the strange country album by a black wrestler (his name escapes me)that one time in the 1970's wrestled in the ring but spent his off time recording a country-blues album for a small label. Do you recall the name of it or the wrestler? Thanks.

  2. 3/19/12 wrote:
    I just located some research of that country album by a pro wrestler on another blog. He was a Canadian wrestler with the ring name Sweet Daddy Siki A/K/A Mr. Irresistable who recorded an album for ARC Records of Canada titled "Squares off With country Music(ARC A-#745)(1968-71?) This album probaly wasn't issued in the U.S., but I wondered if you've ever heard of it or found a copy. This LP may be seen in comparison with the "Big Haystacks" album.I'm still looking for a copy.

  3. Hi Rob, I'm afraid I'd not come across Sweet daddy Siki before, although tyere's a bunch of info on him here including the news that he recorded at least three albums. A spot of shopping coming up!

    1. I know I'm super late to the party here, but here is a fun fact: Sweet Daddy Siki, post active career, trained wrestlers. 2 of his biggest successes? Edge and Christian.

  4. this tune is awesome... considering. maybe tis you who sucks, daryl.

  5. Darryl u got a shitload of bullshit if I may say it that way ;) Rusty Goffe made me wanna punch my girlfriend...

    But this one? God I wish I had this tune - I somekinda got into it... Sad story somehow...but maybe not.

    greetings - Dodi

  6. 13 seconds in... Shades of T-Rex... I'm sure it wasn't intentional.


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