Friday, June 21, 2024

Fifth Beatle George Martin, Producer of the Group’s Records, Turned 90 Today


Sorry to get to this so late. George Martin, the Fifth Beatle and the group’s producer of all their amazing records, turned 90 today. Since it’s 1am in London he is no doubt asleep. But we owe Sir George a huge debt of gratitude for making those records, producing and arranging them, suggesting things to Lennon and McCartney and helping them realize their ambitions.

All_You_Need_Is_Ears_The_Inside_Personal_Story_of_the_Genius_who_Created_..._-_George_Martin,_Jeremy_Hornsby_-_Google_Books_-_2016-01-03_19.03.29I think his last real act was apprenticing his son Giles, who helped him create the soundtrack for the Cirque du Soleil “Love” show. That was an incredible project in which Sir George pulled apart the whole Beatles catalog and re-assembled it like a cubist painting.

In Martin’s memoir, “All You Need Is Ears,” available at amazon (and should be an ebook– Giles, please call Jane Friedman at Open Road Books) he tells a funny story about the making of Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die.” You see, George continued into the 70s producing McCartney records. (He also produced a lot of hits for America, including “Sister Golden Hair” and “Tin Man.”)

Turns out the Bond producers– Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzmann– wanted George to score the film. They liked Paul’s “Live and Let Die” track. But they wanted a female singer, like Thelma Houston! George writes, they considered Paul’s version a demo track! Cooler minds prevailed, and the rest is history.

Sir George is retired now. But boy oh boy– what an immense talent. There would never been Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, The White Album, Let it Be, Abbey Road, any “later day” Beatles without him. Happy Birthday, Sir George Martin.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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