Beatles' producer George Martin dies at 90

LONDON - George Martin, the Beatles' urbane producer who guided, assisted and stood aside through the band's swift, historic transformation from rowdy club act to musical and cultural revolutionaries, has died, his management said Wednesday.

See Full Article

He was 90.

"We can confirm that Sir George Martin passed away peacefully at home yesterday evening," Adam Sharp, a founder of CA Management, said Wednesday in an email.

Too modest to call himself the "Fifth Beatle," a title many felt he deserved, the tall, elegant Londoner produced some of the most popular and influential albums of modern times - "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Revolver," "Rubber Soul," "Abbey Road" - elevating rock LPs from ways to cash in on hit singles to art forms, "concepts." He won six Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1999. Three years earlier, he was knighted.

Martin both witnessed and enabled the extraordinary changes of the Beatles and of the 1960s. From a raw first album in 1962 that took just a day to make, to the months-long production of "Sgt. Pepper," the Beatles advanced by quantum steps as songwriters and sonic explorers. They not only composed dozens of classics, from "She Loves You" to "Hey Jude," but turned the studio into a wonderland of tape loops, multi-tracking, unpredictable tempos, unfathomable segues and kaleidoscopic montages. Never again would rock music be defined by two-minute love songs or guitar-bass-drums arrangements. Lyrically and musically, anything became possible.

"Once we got beyond the bubblegum stage, the early recordings, and they wanted to do something more adventurous, they were saying, 'What can you give us?"' Martin told The Associated Press in 2002. "And I said, 'I can give you anything you like."'

Besides the Beatles, Martin worked with Jeff Beck, Elton John, Celine Dion and on several solo albums by Paul McCartney. In the 1960s, Martin produced hits by Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas and for 37 straight weeks in 1963 a Martin recording topped the British charts.

But his legacy was defined by the Beatles, for the contributions he made, and for those he didn't.

When he first took on the Liverpool group, Martin was very much in charge, choosing "Love Me Do" as their first single and initially confining the newly-hired Ringo Starr to tambourine (a slight the drummer never quite got over). But during a time when the young were displacing the old, Martin would find his own role upstaged.

Before the Beatles, producers such as Phil Spector and Berry Gordy controlled the recording process, choosing the arrangements and musicians; picking, and sometimes writing the songs (or claiming credit for them). The Beatles, led by the songwriting team of McCartney and John Lennon, became their own bosses, relying on Martin not for his vision, but for what he could do for theirs. They were among the first rock groups to compose their own material and, inspired by native genius, a world's tour of musical influences and all the latest stimulants, they demanded new sounds.

Martin was endlessly called on to perform the impossible, and often succeeded, splicing recordings at different speeds for "Strawberry Fields Forever" or, for "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," simulating a calliope with keyboards, harmonica and a harmonium that the producer himself played with such intensity he passed out on the floor. Martin would have several good turns on the keyboards, performing a lively music hall solo on McCartney's "Lovely Rita" and a speeded-up Baroque reverie on Lennon's "In My Life."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • 'The Girl on the Train' author Paula Hawkins dives into thriller 'Into the Water'

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Paula Hawkins scored a literary smash out of the gates after her debut thriller "The Girl on the Train" sold 19 million copies and was adapted into a box office-topping hit film starring Emily Blunt. Source
  • Simple Plan bassist Desrosiers taking leave to treat depression

    Entertainment CBC News
    Simple Plan bassist David Desrosiers says he's taking a temporary leave from the pop-punk band as he fights depression. The musician posted a message to fans on his Instagram account on Thursday outlining his decision to bow out from the European leg of the band's tour. Source
  • Is nostalgia enough to make Ultra Street Fighter 2 a success?

    Entertainment CBC News
    Street Fighter 2 is one of the most important titles in video game history. Launched in 1992 by Japanese studio Capcom, Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior largely defined the fighting game genre and revitalized arcade gaming. Source
  • How Star Wars ruined Hollywood: The dark side of the space epic's success

    Entertainment CBC News
    Forty years ago today, Star Wars opened in just 43 cinemas. Soon enough, the sci-fi epic was playing hundred of screens and a franchise was born. With time, the Star Wars films earned billions of dollars at the box office and changed the way movies are made. Source
  • Bloodline's Norbert Leo Butz and showrunner Todd A. Kessler talk final season

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    You either loved or hated Bloodline. But most who watched Netflix’s creatively-challenged family thriller-saga about the f---ed-up Rayburn clan all agreed the acting is what the series will be most remembered for. Kyle Chandler was nominated twice for an Emmy Award as Best Lead Dramatic Actor – a hard thing to snag, especially as a relatively new series with mixed reviews and little fanfare and considering it took forever for him to be recognized for his big sleeper hit, Friday Night Lights –…
  • Simple Plan bassist skips European tour as he battles depression

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Simple Plan bassist David Desrosiers says he's taking a temporary leave from the pop-punk band as he fights depression. The musician posted a message to fans on his Instagram account saying he's decided to bow out from the European leg of the band's tour. Source
  • Sarah Hyland of Modern Family fights back against anorexia claims

    Entertainment CBC News
    Modern Family star Sarah Hyland says her skinny appearance lately is due to a medical condition. The 26-year-old says in a social media post that critics have accused her of promoting anorexia in pictures she's posted. Source
  • Man loses his mind after breaking Plinko record on The Price Is Right

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    The Price Is Right saw its long-standing Plinko record fall on Thursday. But what made this game entertaining was an exuberant and energetic contestant named Ryan. After securing all five Plinko chips, Ryan began the game by hitting $10,000. Source
  • Q&A: Jerry Seinfeld on Timbits, Trump and Just for Laughs in Montreal

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- The last time Jerry Seinfeld was at Montreal's Just for Laughs festival was in 1989 and audiences were just getting introduced to his motley crew of TV characters and their droll observations about everyday life in New York. Source
  • The Get Down not returning for a 2nd season on Netflix

    Entertainment CBC News
    Netflix has cancelled Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down after one season. The cancellation brings an official end to a series that was plagued by behind-the-scenes troubles and failed to connect with viewers in the ways that buzzy Netflix hits such as Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black have. Source