Saturday, January 22, 2011

George Martin

Sir George Martin was born on January 3, 1926. Sometimes known as the Fifth Beatle, he is an English record producer, arranger, musician, and composer. Before entering the music field, Martin was a surveyor for the British War Office and eventually became a combat pilot, although he never saw actual action in World War II.

In 1950, he left the classical music department at the BBC and joined EMI as a record producer for one of EMI's labels, Parlophone. He took over as head of Parlophone in 1955 and recorded classical and Baroque music for the label, including musical scores from plays and any music that caught his fancy. He also produced several comedy records and worked with Peter Sellers.

Even before the Beatles formerly auditioned for Martin, he signed a contract to have them record with Parlophone on the strength of a meeting with Beatles manager Brian Epstein on May 9, 1962, with the actual audition coming on June 6, 1962. Martin did not put his signature on the first contract lest he not like the future audition.

Martin was not impressed with Pete Best's drumming, nor did he think that the Beatles' songs were strong enough to become hits. Best was replaced by Ringo Starr, and the Beatles eventually would reverse Martin's opinion of their music with such songs as "Please Please Me," "From Me to You," "She Loves You," "Twist and Shout," and "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

In later years, Martin would arrange many parts for session musicians playing on Beatles songs, such as "Yesterday," "Eleanor Rigby," "Penny Lane," and many more. He was also instrumental in the Beatles' success by translating the group's verbal descriptions of what they were trying to achieve with any given song into the hits that the world now knows today. He also played keyboards on many Beatles tracks, such as "Not a Second Time," "The Word," and several others. Working closely with sound engineer Geoff Emerick, Martin was also able to achieve some of the Beatles' more memorable sound effects, such as those on "Strawberry Fields" and "Tomorrow Never Knows."

Over the years, Martin also worked with other artists, such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Kenny Rogers, Jeff Beck, Cheap Trick, Cilla Black, and America. Martin oversaw the post-production of The Beatles Anthology series of three sets of double CDs featuring outtakes and alternate versions of the Beatles' music. In 2006, he and his son Giles remixed eighty minutes of Beatles music to produce the album Love, a soundtrack used by the Las Vegas stage performance of Cirque du Soleil.

Martin also produced the memorable theme songs for two James Bond movies, Goldfinger and Live and Let Die.

For more information on George Martin, consult BEATLES CONNECTIONS on the sitemap below.

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