R.I.P. Sir George Martin

Hailing frequencies open… Forums Media Music R.I.P. Sir George Martin

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    If anyone ever deserved to be referred to as the Fifth Beatle, it was he. [LINK]

    George Martin, the “Fifth Beatle” and British treasure who signed the Fab Four to a label contract when no one else would, produced virtually all their songs and introduced lavish arrangements into “Yesterday” and “A Day in the Life,” has died. He was 90.

    As head of EMI’s Parlophone Records, which then concentrated on jazz and comedy, Martin was on the lookout for a rock act when he met Beatles manager Brian Epstein in February 1962. Every other British label had passed on signing the foursome — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best.

    Martin chose not to promote one of them as the frontman, suggested they replace Best (studio drummer Ringo Starr came on board) and allowed them to record their own material. Their first single, “Love Me Do,” peaked at No. 17 on the British charts.

    For The Beatles’ first U.S. single, “Please Please Me,” in November 1962, he convinced the boys to speed up the tempo. It proved to be a smash hit. “Gentlemen, you have just made your first No. 1 record,” he memorably told them from the control room.

    Martin also served as The Beatles’ arranger. He suggested strings be added to “Yesterday,” which would become one of the most covered songs of all time, and conducted the string section for “Eleanor Rigby.” He played piano on “In My Life” and composed its harpsichord section; was responsible for the breathtaking orchestral windup in “A Day in the Life;” and used backward tapes to help shape the psychedelic elements of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

    An interesting extra tidbit from his bio:

    In 1962, under the pseudonym Ray Cathode, Martin put out an electronic dance single, “Time Beat,” recorded at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which fueled his desire to find a rock ’n’ roll group with whom to work.

    This year’s really out for paradigm-shifting musical icons. I could easily have posted this in the soundtrack forum too – he scored all the non-Beatley instrumental bits of Yellow Submarine, and arranged and produced Paul McCartney’s theme from the James Bond film “Live and Let Die”.

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    It’s always amazing when you hear about nobody wanting to take a chance on something and it turns out to be enormous. I always wonder what happened to the various movie studio executives who decided to pass on the movie Titanic. I’m guessing that’s something they keep to themselves when they’re looking for a new job. How many music executives just wet themselves every time the Beatles got another number one song and hated themselves for turning them down. I wish there was a documentary showing what happened to those people who have to live down letting something huge slip through their fingers just because it was too new or novel in their eyes.

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