George Martin, Beatles Producer, Has Died
Wed, 09 Mar 2016 20:25:37
George Martin, the producer of the vast majority of the Beatles recordings, has died at the age of 90. The exact cause of death is yet unknown. His family thanked "everyone for their thoughts, prayers and messages of support" after his death at home on Tuesday, his manager said, the BBC reports.
The producer helmed eleven out of the Beatles' twelve studio LPs recorded between 1962 and 1969, and for this, he is often affectionately given the title, 'the fifth Beatle.' Martin's role as a producer grew into that of a true collaborator when he began adding lush, majestic orchestration to the Beatles' venerable rock sound. He was an integral part of the Beatles musical artistry. From the time he bolstered Paul McCartney's "Yesterday" onward; transforming a sparse, gentle folk song into state-of-the-art pop; his vision and the Beatles' coalesced into something greater than the sum of their parts.
By the time, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was completed in 1967, with a measly four-track recorder, he and the Beatles had charted a journey aimed towards the limits of recorded sound that continues to inspire musical innovation today.
In addition to the Beatles, Martin also produced records by Kate Bush, Jeff Beck, Cheap Trick, America, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black, the Action, Billy J. Kramer, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Celine Dion, the 1997 single version of Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," and solo material from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. He was knighted in 1996.
Read Paul McCartney's reflection on the loss, via Pitchfork:
"I'm so sad to hear the news of the passing of dear George Martin. I have so many wonderful memories of this great man that will be with me forever. He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family. 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.
It's hard to choose favourite memories of my time with George, there are so many but one that comes to mind was the time I brought the song 'Yesterday' to a recording session and the guys in the band suggested that I sang it solo and accompany myself on guitar. After I had done this George Martin said to me, "Paul I have an idea of putting a string quartet on the record". 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. ... The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music.
God bless you George and all who sail in you!"
Ringo Starr has tweeted:
Thank you for all your love and kindness George peace and love xx???????? pic.twitter.com/um2hRFB7qF— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) March 9, 2016
Sean Ono Lennon:
R.I.P. George Martin. I'm so gutted I don't have many words. Thinking of Judy and Giles and… https://t.co/3Nc8sCgRpN— Sean Ono Lennon (@seanonolennon) March 9, 2016
For more on the Beatles:
Netflix Announces Beatles-themed 'Beat Bugs'
—The ARTISTdirect Staff