SIR GEORGE MARTIN 1926 - 2016
LONDON, March 2016: The British music industry has been paying tribute to Sir George Martin CBE, who died on March 8th aged 90 years old. Sir George's son, Giles Martin, also a producer, tweeted: "RIP dad. I love you. I'm so proud to have been your son. I'll miss you more than words can say. Thank you for the all times we had together." The news was broken on Twitter by Ringo Starr who tweeted. "God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family, love Ringo and Barbara." Sir George is pictured at the Gold Badge Awards 2012 with SongLink editor David Stark who met him many times over the past four decades.
David Stark and Sir George Martin
Sir George Martin
George Martin and The Beatles in 1963
George Martin and The Beatles in 1995
Ken Scott, Chris Thomas, George Martin and Glyn Johns
Paul McCartney commented, "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."
Peter Gabriel said on his website, "Really sad to lose George Martin, a brilliantly creative musical maestro who explored and expanded what music was and could be. He was one of the giants that turned the job of recording from a science into an art. The marriage of his experience, musicality and orchestral background with the furnace of creativity that was The Beatles, produced startlingly new music that inspired a generation and was one of the things that made me want to become a musician. The experimental edge to my work was inspired by his. One of my personal highlights was to have been presented the APRS Fellowship Award by the great man, who was very generous and encouraging as always."
Sir George was president of the APRS and attended nearly all its Fellowship Awards, missing the last one in November 2015 through ill-health. Coincidentally the APRS board has recently decided to rethink the association's structure and future. Meanwhile the executive board of the Music Producers Guild has express its regret and sadness at the death of Sir George, having In 2013, having in 2013 presented him with its top accolade, an Outstanding Contribution to UK Music Award. MPG member Tony Platt said: "Sir George set the tone for record production, and in particular British record production, by putting the artist at the centre of the music making process rather than treating them as a product. He did what he did really well and that made a massive difference to the way in which professional music production developed over subsequent years. He was also a charming and funny man who will be sadly missed."
Best known for the integral part he played in the success of the Beatles, Sir George had a career spanning more than six decades, with 30 Number One hits and over one billion records sold. He began his career in the music industry in 1950 when he joined EMI. After five years he became Head of Parlophone and was entirely responsible for the label's output. During this time, he worked with esteemed classical musicians of the day and turned his hand to the pioneering comedy recordings of Flanders and Swann, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Beyond the Fringe. In 1962, Sir George met and signed The Beatles, a partnership that revolutionised studio recording and the creative process, incorporating new technology to take their music to new and increasingly diverse levels. Following their split, Sir George continued to push the creative boundaries with acts such as Jeff Beck, Jimmy Webb, America and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Sir George has also scored a number of feature films, including the ground-breaking 'A Hard Day's Night' and 'Yellow Submarine', as well as working on the title tracks to the Bond films 'From Russia with Love' and 'Goldfinger' and the title as well as the score for 'Live and Let Die'. During his career, Sir George was awarded two Ivor Novellos and six Grammy awards, as well as the MPG Outstanding Contribution Award, sponsored by PPL.
Phil Ward of PSN Europe wrote, "It probably would have been enough just to have defined the beat sound of 1963-65. But Sir George Martin CBE (as he became in 1996), in cahoots with his young charges, kept going. By the end of the decade he had played a huge part in the invention of folk rock, progressive rock, guitar-driven power pop and several experiments that fed into glam, ambient, electronica and a host of other starting points – as well as a greater appreciation of what has become known as 'world' music. Rock became as intellectual as jazz, as moving as opera and more fun than six gallons of port wine down at the Old Bull & Bush.
"Martin changed the professional recording industry from within, setting up the Association of Independent Recorders in 1965, followed by the two AIR studios – the first of which contributed, alongside Olympic and Trident, to the abandonment of white laboratory coats and all inhibitions. Many engineers flourished under his tutelage, becoming pioneering producers in their own right, while the original recordings, once so shockingly new, gradually took on the mantle of classics: constantly refreshing and refreshable even as the world moved on."
Peter Filleul, so instrumental in securing the legacy of UK recording through his APRS and MPG ministrations, remembers him as "brilliant, honourable, generous, funny and fun, inspiring, good company and an icon of great musical and cultural significance. I met him in the late '70s but, in truth, like so many of us I had wanted to be him since 1963. I was fortunate to work with him on some of the industry stuff the MPG and the APRS got up to, flying the flag for producers and the pro-audio industry in general. In recent years, his love and support for (Caribbean island) Montserrat drew our paths together and his contribution to the island's revival after its two devastating disasters – Hurricane Hugo and the volcanic eruption – has and continues to have a lasting impact. His 1997 Albert Hall concert, with performances by many of the stars who'd recorded on the island, raised money to build a new Cultural Centre and his Montserrat Foundation funds a graduate of his alma mater, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, to assist with musical tuition and activities on island."
Dave Harries joined Abbey Road as a technician in 1964, and quickly found a team that coalesced around a mild-mannered, softly-spoken father figure: "Firstly, he was such a likeable man," Harries recalls. "Secondly, such a modest man. Thirdly, he was exceptional in that he was a classically trained musician, a score composer and a conductor: how many pop record producers can you say that about?" Harries also pays tribute to Martin's A&R acumen. "Don't forget he launched a hundred careers, more. My favourite is the guy he discovered to croon on Peter Sellers' album Songs For Swingin' Sellers: he called him 'Fred Flange' on the record and, although it was a pastiche, everybody wanted to know who this great singer was. It turned out to be Matt Monro."
Harries built AIR Lyndhurst alongside Malcolm Atkin, an AIR Oxford Street acolyte since 1974 and a man given a breathtaking task by Martin after only four years there: "The chief tech resigned exactly two weeks before George announced that he was going to build a studio on Montserrat," recounts Atkin. "And he turned round to me, just a technician, and said, 'You can do that...'" The fabled modesty was shown years later when Atkin was in a meeting at Lyndhurst with Martin and Chrysalis boss Chris Wright, who suggested that Lyndhurst Hall, the famous live room, should be renamed 'George Martin Hall'. "George said no way," says Atkin. "He absolutely refused to consider such an idea under any circumstances. We all thought it was a very fitting accolade, but that's a measure of the man. Quite amazing."
George Martin Music