George Martin

George Martin books and biography


George Martin


Sir George Martin
From the sleeve of his 1993 book With a Little Help from My Friends - The Making of Sgt. Pepper
From the sleeve of his 1993 book With a Little Help from My Friends - The Making of Sgt. Pepper
Background information
Born 3 January 1926
Origin Highbury, London, England
Occupation(s) Record Producer, Arranger, Composer
Instrument(s) Piano, and keyboard instruments
Years active 1950 – Present
Label(s) EMI, Parlophone
The Beatles

Sir George Martin CBE (born 3 January 1926 in Highbury, London, England) is sometimes referred to as "the fifth Beatle", a title that he owes to his work as producer of almost all of the Beatles' records. In recognition of his services to the music industry and popular culture, he was made a Knight Bachelor of the British Empire in 1996. He is also the father of producer Giles Martin.



When he was six, Martin's family acquired a piano and that sparked an interest in music.[1] At age eight, he convinced his parents he should take piano lessons, but those ended after only eight lessons because of a disagreement between his mother and the teacher. After that, he said, "I just picked it up by myself."[2] He attended multiple schools as a child, including a "convent school in Holloway", St. Joseph's elementary school in Highgate, and St. Ignatius College in Stamford Hill, to which he won a scholarship.[3] When war broke out and St. Ignatius College students were evacuated to Welwyn Garden City, his family left London and he was enrolled at Bromley Grammar School.[3]

Early career

Despite his continued interest in music, and "fantasies about being the next Rachmaninov",[4] he did not initially choose music as a career. He worked briefly as a quantity surveyor and then for the War Office as a Temporary Clerk Grade Three, with filing paperwork and making tea the main responsibilities.[5] In 1943, at age seventeen, he joined the Fleet Air Arm and became a pilot and a commissioned officer. The war ended before he was involved in any combat, and he left the service in 1947.[6] Encouraged by Sidney Harrison, a member of the Committee for the Promotion of New Music, Martin used his veteran's grant to attend the Guildhall School of Music.[7]

EMI and Parlophone

Following his graduation, he first worked for the BBC's classical music department, then joined EMI in 1950, as assistant to Oscar Preuss, the head of EMI's Parlophone Records.[8] Taking over Parlophone as Preuss retired,[9] Martin spent his first years with the record label recording classical and Baroque music, original cast recordings of hit plays, and regional music from around the British Isles.[10] He also produced numerous comedy and novelty records, working with offbeat acts such as Peter Sellers, Rolf Harris and Shirley Abicair[11]. He also worked with the Vipers Skiffle Group, with whom he had a number of hits. In early 1962, under the pseudonym "Ray Cathode", he released an early electronic dance single in much the same style as the Dr Who theme tune. Adding rock and roll to Parlophone's repertoire, Martin struggled to find a "fireproof", hitmaking rock artist or group.

The Beatles

He first auditioned the Beatles in 1962, after they had been turned down by Decca Records and most of the major British labels. Although his initial reaction was that "they were pretty awful", Martin signed them to a recording contract.[12] This marked the beginning of a long relationship, in which Martin's musical expertise helped fill the gap between the Beatles' raw talent and the sound they wanted to achieve.[13] Most of the orchestral arrangements and instrumentation (as well as frequent keyboard parts on the early records) on Beatles records were made or performed by Martin, in collaboration with the band. One example of this is the song "Penny Lane", which featured a piccolo trumpet solo; McCartney hummed the melody he wanted, and Martin wrote it down in music notation for David Mason, the classically trained trumpeter.[14]

Martin's distinctive arranging work on Beatles recordings appears on "Eleanor Rigby", for which he scored and conducted a strings-only accompaniment (inspired by Bernard Herrmann's music for Fahrenheit 451),[15][16] "Strawberry Fields Forever", where he, with Geoff Emerick, turned two very different takes into a single master through careful use of vari-speed and editing,[17] "I Am the Walrus", a quirky and original arrangement (for brass, violins, cellos and choir) effectively complementing the surreal imagery of the song's lyrics,[18][19] "In My Life", on which he played a sped-up Baroque piano solo,[20] and the orchestral 'windup' appearing in "A Day in the Life".[21] He also contributed less-noted but integral parts to other songs, including the piano in "Lovely Rita",[22] the circus instrumentation in "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite",[23] and the orchestration in "Good Night".[24]

Within the recording industry, Martin is noted for going independent at a time when many producers were still salaried staff A+R men — which he was until the Beatles' success gave him the leverage to start, in 1965, Associated Independent Recording, and hire out his own services to artists who requested him. This arrangement not only demonstrated how important Martin's talents were considered to be by his artists, but it also allowed him to take part in the share of record royalties on his hits.[25] Today, Martin's AIR Studios[1] remains one of the world's preeminent recording studios. Many Academy Award–winning films and Grammy-winning songs have been recorded at AIR.

Other artists

Aside from his work with the Beatles (on both group and solo projects), Martin has also produced recordings for many other artists, including the band America,[26] guitarist Jeff Beck, and country singer Kenny Rogers. He is also a renowned composer; he scored the Beatles' film Yellow Submarine[27] and the James Bond film Live And Let Die, for which Paul McCartney wrote and sang the title song.[28] He also worked with Yoshiki Hayashi.

Martin also worked with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Gary Glitter. He worked with Glitter before he was famous, and recorded several songs with him in the 1960s under the name of "Paul Raven". Though none of these were major hits, they later became collectible after Glitter became a star in the 1970s.

In 1990 Martin accepted an offer to produce an original artist, Andy Leek (formerly of Dexy's Midnight Runners). The album, Say Something, was released by Atlantic Records and received critical acclaim.

The Beatles Anthology

Martin oversaw post-production on The Beatles Anthology in 1994 and 1995, working again with recording engineer Geoff Emerick, but stepped down when it came to producing the two new singles to be included (reuniting McCartney, Harrison and Starr, to overdub two old Lennon demos). Martin had suffered a hearing loss, and left the work to writer/producer Jeff Lynne of ELO fame.

Cirque du Soleil and Love

In 2006, Martin and his son, Giles Martin, remixed 90 minutes of Beatle music for the stage performance Love, a joint venture between Cirque du Soleil and the Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd. A soundtrack album from the show was also released in 2006.

Books and audio retrospective

In 1979, he published a memoir, All You Need is Ears (co-written with Jeremy Hornsby), that described his work with the Beatles and other artists (including Peter Sellers, Sophia Loren, Shirley Bassey, Flanders and Swann, Matt Monro, and Dudley Moore), and gave an informal introduction to the art and science of sound recording.[29] In 1993 Martin published With a Little Help from My Friends: The Making of Sgt Pepper (published in UK as Summer of Love: The Making of Sgt Pepper, co-authored with William Pearson).[30] Martin also edited a 1983 book called Making Music: The Guide to Writing, Performing and Recording.

In 2002, Martin launched Playback, his limited-edition illustrated autobiography, published by Genesis Publications.

In 2001, he released Produced by George Martin: 50 Years In Recording, a 6-CD retrospective of his entire studio career.

Awards and recognition

  • Grammy Award 1967 - Best Contemporary Album (as producer of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)[31]
  • Grammy Award 1967 - Album Of The Year (as producer of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)[31]
  • Grammy Award 1973 - Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) (as arranger of 'Live And Let Die')[31]
  • BRIT Awards 1977 - Best British Producer (of the past 25 years)
  • BRIT Awards 1984 - Outstanding Contribution To Music[32]
  • Grammy Award 1993 - Best Musical Show Album (as producer of 'The Who's Tommy')[31]
  • Martin was named the British Phonographic Industry's "Man of the Year" for 1998.
  • He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 1999[33] and into the UK Music Hall of Fame on 14 November 2006.
  • Martin has also been honoured with a Gold Medal for Services to the Arts from the CISAC (the World Federation of Authors and Composers) and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Services to Film at Belgium's Flanders Film Festival.
  • In November 2006, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music by Leeds Metropolitan University[34]
  • He was granted his own Coat of Arms in March 2004 by the College of Arms. His shield features three beetles.[35]

Hit records produced or co-produced by George Martin

  • “My Kind of Girl,” Matt Monro (7/31/61, #18)
  • “Why Not Now,” Matt Monro (10/30/61, #92)
  • “My Boomerang Won’t Come Back,” Charlie Drake (3/17/62, #21)
  • “Sun Arise,” Rolf Harris (4/13/63, #61)
  • “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,” Rolf Harris (7/13/63, #3)
  • “Nick Teen and Al K. Hall,” Rolf Harris (9/28/63, #95)
  • “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” Beatles (2/01/64, #1)
  • “Please Please Me,” Beatles (3/14/64, #3)
  • “She Loves You,” Beatles (3/21/64, #1)
  • “I Saw Her Standing There,” Beatles (3/21/64, #14)
  • “Can’t Buy Me Love,” Beatles (4/04/64, #1)
  • “Twist and Shout,” Beatles (4/04/64, #2)
  • “From Me to You,” Beatles (4/04/64, #41)
  • “Roll Over Beethoven,” Beatles (4/04/64, #68)
  • “You Can’t Do That,” Beatles (4/11/64, #48)
  • “There’s a Place,” Beatles (4/11/64, #64)
  • “All My Loving,” Beatles (4/25/64, #45)
  • “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” Beatles (5/09/64, #2)
  • “Thank You Girl,” Beatles (5/09/64, #35)
  • “Love Me Do,” Beatles (5/30/64, #1)
  • “P.S. I Love You,” Beatles (6/06/64, #10)
  • “Little Children,” Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas (6/13/64, #7)
  • “Bad to Me,” Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas (6/27/64, #9)
  • Four by the Beatles (EP), Beatles (6/27/64, #92)
  • “Sie Liebt Dich (She Loves You),” Beatles (6/27/64, #97)
  • “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (7/04/64, #4)
  • “I’m the One,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (7/18/64, #82)
  • “A Hard Day’s Night,” Beatles (8/01/64, #1)
  • “You’re My World,” Cilla Black (8/01/64, #26)
  • “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You,” Beatles (8/01/64, #95)
  • “I Should Have Known Better,” Beatles (8/15/64, #53)
  • “I’ll Keep You Satisfied,” Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas (8/22/64, #30)
  • “I’ll Cry Instead,” Beatles (8/29/64, #25)
  • “How Do You Do It?,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (9/05/64, #9)
  • “If I Fell,” Beatles (9/05/64, #53)
  • “And I Love Her,” Beatles (9/12/64, #12)
  • “Ringo’s Theme (This Boy),” George Martin (9/12/64, #53)
  • “From a Window,” Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas (10/03/64, #23)
  • “It’s for You,” Cilla Black (10/03/64, #79)
  • “Slow Down,” Beatles (10/10/64, #25)
  • “Matchbox,” Beatles (10/17/64, #17)
  • “I Like It,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (11/07/64, #17)
  • “I Feel Fine,” Beatles (12/26/64, #1)
  • “She’s a Woman,” Beatles (12/26/64, #4)
  • “Walk Away,” Matt Monro (1/09/65, #23)
  • “I’ll Be There,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (1/30/65, #14)
  • “It’s Gotta Last Forever,” Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas (3/06/65, #67)
  • “Eight Days a Week,” Beatles (3/13/65, #1)
  • “Ferry Across the Mersey,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (3/20/65, #6)
  • “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party,” Beatles (3/20/65, #39)
  • “Goldfinger,” Shirley Bassey (3/27/65, #8)
  • 4-By the Beatles (EP), Beatles (3/27/65, #68)
  • “It’s Gonna Be Alright,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (5/08/65, #23)
  • “Yes It Is,” Beatles (5/15/65, #46)
  • “Ticket to Ride,” Beatles (5/22/65, #1)
  • “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (7/03/65, #48)
  • “Trains and Boats and Planes,” Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas (7/31/65, #47)
  • “Help!,” Beatles (9/04/65, #1)
  • “Give All Your Love to Me,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (9/11/65, #68)
  • “Yesterday,” Beatles (10/09/65, #1)
  • “Act Naturally,” Beatles (10/23/65, #47)
  • “We Can Work It Out,” Beatles (1/08/66, #1)
  • “Day Tripper,” Beatles (1/22/66, #5)
  • “Michelle,” David and Jonathan (2/12/66, #18)
  • “What Goes On,” Beatles (3/19/66, #81)
  • “Nowhere Man,” Beatles (3/26/66, #3)
  • “La La La,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (4/16/66, #90)
  • “Paperback Writer,” Beatles (6/25/66, #1)
  • “Rain,” Beatles (7/09/66, #23)
  • “Alfie,” Cilla Black (9/10/66, #95)
  • “Yellow Submarine,” Beatles (9/17/66, #2)
  • “Eleanor Rigby,” Beatles (9/24/66, #11)
  • “Girl on a Swing,” Gerry and the Pacemakers (10/22/66, #28)
  • “Penny Lane,” Beatles (3/18/67, #1)
  • “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Beatles (4/01/67, #8)
  • “Baby You’re a Rich Man,” Beatles (8/12/67, #34)
  • “All You Need Is Love,” Beatles (8/19/67, #1)
  • “I Am the Walrus,” Beatles (12/23/67, #1)
  • “Hello Goodbye,” Beatles (12/30/67, #1)
  • “The Inner Light,” Beatles (3/30/68, #96)
  • “Lady Madonna,” Beatles (4/20/68, #4)
  • “Revolution,” Beatles (9/21/68, #12)
  • “Hey Jude,” Beatles (9/28/68, #1)
  • “Get Back,” Beatles with Billy Preston (5/24/69, #1)
  • “Don’t Let Me Down,” Beatles with Billy Preston (5/24/69, #35)
  • “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” Beatles (7/12/69, #8)
  • “Come Together” / “Something,” Beatles (11/29/69, #1)
  • “Let It Be,” Beatles (4/11/70, #1)
  • “Live and Let Die,” Paul McCartney and Wings (8/11/73, #2)
  • “Tin Man,” America (11/09/74, #4)
  • “Lonely People,” America (3/08/75, #5)
  • “Sister Golden Hair,” America (6/14/75, #1)
  • “Daisy Jane,” America (9/27/75, #23)
  • “Woman Tonight,” America (1/17/76, #44)
  • “Today’s the Day,” America (7/10/76, #23)
  • “Got to Get You into My Life,” Beatles (7/24/76, #7)
  • “Amber Cascades,” America (9/11/76, #75)
  • “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da,” Beatles (12/11/76, #49)
  • “Amarillo,” Neil Sedaka (6/25/77, #44)
  • “Got to Get You into My Life,” Earth, Wind and Fire (9/16/78, #9)
  • “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help from My Friends,” Beatles (9/30/78, #71)
  • “Oh! Darling,” Robin Gibb (10/07/78, #15)
  • “Get Back,” Billy Preston (10/28/78, #86)
  • “Stop This Game,” Cheap Trick (12/06/80, #48)
  • “The Beatles Movie Medley,” Beatles (5/08/82, #12)
  • “Ebony and Ivory,” Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder (5/15/82, #1)
  • “Take It Away,” Paul McCartney (8/21/82, #10)
  • “Tug of War,” Paul McCartney (10/23/82, #53)
  • “Say Say Say,” Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson (12/10/83, #1)
  • “So Bad,” Paul McCartney (2/11/84, #23)
  • “No More Lonely Nights,” Paul McCartney (12/08/84, #6)
  • “Morning Desire,” Kenny Rogers (12/28/85, #72)
  • “Twist and Shout,” Beatles (reissue) (9/27/86, #23)
  • “Candle in the Wind 1997,” Elton John (10/11/97, #1)


  • Off The Beatle Track (1964)
  • Help! (1965)
  • George Martin Instrumentally Salutes The Beatle Girls (1966)
  • Yellow Submarine (side one: The Beatles, side two: The George Martin Orchestra) (1969)
  • Live and Let Die (producer for Paul McCartney's song and composer of musical score) (1973)
  • In My Life (1998)
  • Produced by George Martin (2001)
  • The Family Way (2003)

Selected discography (as producer)

  • The Action (several singles) (1960s)
  • Michael Flanders and Donald Swann — At the Drop of a Hat (1960)
  • The Beatles — Please Please Me (1963)
  • The Beatles — With the Beatles (1963)
  • Michael Flanders and Donald Swann — At the Drop of Another Hat (1964)
  • Michael Flanders and Donald Swann — Bestiary of Flanders & Swann (1964)
  • The Beatles — A Hard Day's Night (1964)
  • The Beatles — Beatles for Sale (1964)
  • Gerry and the Pacemakers — Ferry Cross the Mersey (1965)
  • The Beatles — Help! (1965)
  • The Beatles — Rubber Soul (1965)
  • The Beatles — Revolver (1966)
  • Ivor Cutler Trio — Ludo (1967)
  • The Beatles — Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
  • The Beatles — Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
  • The Beatles — Beatles (White Album) (1968)
  • The Beatles — Yellow Submarine (1969)
  • The Beatles — Abbey Road (1969)
  • Ringo Starr — Sentimental Journey (1970)
  • Paul Winter Consort — Icarus (1973)
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra — Apocalypse (1974)
  • America — Holiday (1974)
  • Jeff Beck — Blow by Blow (1975)
  • America — Hearts (1975)
  • America — Hideaway (1976)
  • Jeff Beck — Wired (1976)
  • Jimmy Webb — El Mirage (1977)
  • America — Harbor (1977)
  • Gary Brooker — No More Fear of Flying (1979)
  • Cheap Trick — All Shook Up (1980)
  • UFO — No Place to Run (1980)
  • Little River Band — Time Exposure (1981)
  • Ultravox — Quartet (1982)
  • Paul McCartney — Tug of War (1982)
  • Paul McCartney — Pipes of Peace (1983)
  • Paul McCartney — Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)
  • Laurie London — He's Got the Whole World in His Hands (1984)
  • Andy Leek — Say Something (1990)
  • 3D Picnic — New Wave Party (1991)
  • Notes

    1. ^ George Martin with Jeremy Hornsby (1994). All You Need Is Ears. New York: St. Martin's Press, 13. ISBN 0-312-11482-6. 
    2. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 14. 
    3. ^ a b George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 15. 
    4. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 17. 
    5. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 18. 
    6. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 25-28. 
    7. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 18-25. 
    8. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 28-29. 
    9. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 63. 
    10. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 84-85. 
    11. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 85-96, 97-103. 
    12. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 120-123. 
    13. ^ Bob Spitz (2005). The Beatles: The Biography. Boston: Little, Brown, 591. ISBN 0-316-80352-9. 
    14. ^ Mark Lewisohn (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books, 93. ISBN 0-517-57066-1. 
    15. ^ Mark Lewisohn (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions, 77. 
    16. ^ Ian MacDonald (1994). Revolution in the Head: the Beatles' Records and the Sixties. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 163. ISBN 0-8050-2780-7. 
    17. ^ Mark Lewisohn (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions, 90-91. 
    18. ^ Mark Lewisohn (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions, 127. 
    19. ^ Ian MacDonald (1994). Revolution in the Head: the Beatles' Records and the Sixties, 216. 
    20. ^ Mark Lewisohn (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions, 65. 
    21. ^ George Martin with William Pearson (1994). With a Little Help from My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper. Boston: Little, Brown, 55-60. ISBN 0-316-54783-2. 
    22. ^ Ian MacDonald (1994). Revolution in the Head: the Beatles' Records and the Sixties, 189-190. 
    23. ^ Mark Lewisohn (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions, 99. 
    24. ^ Mark Lewisohn (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions, 144. 
    25. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 179-185. 
    26. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 246-247. 
    27. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 226-230. 
    28. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears, 231-232. 
    29. ^ George Martin (1994). All You Need Is Ears. 
    30. ^ George Martin (1994). With a Little Help from My Friends. 
    31. ^ a b c d Retrieved on 2007 February 18.
    32. ^ The BRIT Awards 1984. Retrieved on 2007 February 18.
    33. ^ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved on 2007 February 18.
    34. ^ Leeds Metropolitan University Winter Graduation 2006. Retrieved on 2007 February 18.
    35. ^ College of Arms. Retrieved on 2007 March 16.

    See also

    • Category:The Beatles

    This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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