Beatles Producer George Martin Has Died, Paul McCartney Writes a Tribute | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Beatles Producer George Martin Has Died, Paul McCartney Writes a Tribute

"The Fifth Beatle" Was 90

Mar 09, 2016 George Martin Bookmark and Share

Late last night it was announced that Sir. George Martin had died. He was best known as the producer for almost all of The Beatles’ albums and thus was often referred to as “The Fifth Beatle.” The 90-year-old passed away in his sleep and former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr confirmed the news on Twitter. Today the other living Beatle, Paul McCartney, has issued a statement on Martin, calling him “a true gentleman and like a second father to me.”

McCartney went on to write: “If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George. From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.”

Then McCartney wrote about the recording of The Beatles’ “Yesterday,” which McCartney wrote. Originally the song was to be recorded solo, just McCartney and his guitar. It was Martin who suggested they add a string quartet to the song, something McCartney was firmly against at first. As McCartney writes: “I said, ‘Oh no George, we are a rock and roll band and I don’t think it’s a good idea.’ With the gentle bedside manner of a great producer he said to me, ‘Let us try it and if it doesn’t work we won’t use it and we’ll go with your solo version.’ I agreed to this and went round to his house the next day to work on the arrangement.

“He took my chords that I showed him and spread the notes out across the piano, putting the cello in the low octave and the first violin in a high octave and gave me my first lesson in how strings were voiced for a quartet. When we recorded the string quartet at Abbey Road, it was so thrilling to know his idea was so correct that I went round telling people about it for weeks. His idea obviously worked because the song subsequently became one of the most recorded songs ever with versions by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, and thousands more.”

You can read McCartney’s full statement on his website here.

Martin was born in London in 1926. He studied piano and oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1947 to 1950. In the ‘50s he produced comedy and novelty records by Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, and others at EMI, before becoming head of A&R. In 1962 he signed The Beatles, at the time an unknown band, and the rest is music history. Martin also worked on film scores and with such artists as Cilla Black, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Jeff Beck, Elton John, Celine Dion, Ultravox, Kenny Rogers, Cheap Trick, and others. But he was still best known for his work with The Fab Four (or The Fab Five).


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