09 March 2016

Don't Call Him the 5th Beatle, He Hated That

Legendary Beatles producer George Martin is dead at age 90:
George Martin, who produced much of the Beatles' classic catalog, has died. The cause of death has not yet been released. He was 90.

Ringo Starr reported the news on Twitter. "God bless George Martin," he wrote late Tuesday night. "Peace and love to Judy and his family, love Ringo and Barbara. George will be missed." In another post, accompanied by a photo of Martin with the Beatles, Starr wrote, "Thank you for all your love and kindness."

Over the decades, many people have claimed to be the "fifth Beatle." But the only person who can credibly hold that title was Martin. The producer not only signed the Beatles to their first record contract in 1962 but went on to work extensively with them on the vast majority of music they recorded over the next eight years, from "Love Me Do" to the majestic suite that wrapped up Abbey Road.


One of the many remarkable things about Martin is that he managed to produce highly complex, layered pieces of music like Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band, using a mere four-track recorder. "I felt that was the album which turned the Beatles from being just an ordinary rock & roll group into being significant contributors to the history of artistic performance," Martin wrote in his memoir. "It was the watershed which changed the recording art from something which will stand the test of time as a valid art form: sculpture in music, if you like."

In 2011, Martin looked back fondly on his time with the Beatles. "I think they're so damn good they'll be with us for generations, into the middle of the next century," he said. "They're just great musicians and great writers, like Gershwin or Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are there in history, and the Beatles are there in history, too. They'll be there in 100 years, too. But I won't be."
Also, read Paul McCartney's tribute to Martin.


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