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

  • Film academy president welcomes new members at private party

    Entertainment CTV News
    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Jeanne Tripplehorn has been a professional actress for more than 25 years. But as a new member of the film academy, she's almost as giddy as her first day on set. Source
  • Actor James Cromwell charged over Seaworld protest

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN DIEGO -- Actor James Cromwell has been charged with trespassing for interrupting and denouncing an orca show at SeaWorld in San Diego. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Monday that the misdemeanor charge could mean 90 days in jail or a fine up to $400. Source
  • Spicer defends Emmy appearance, says critics should lighten up

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - Sean Spicer says his surprise Emmy Awards appearance was a chance to have some fun, and suggested Tuesday that people who were upset by it were taking things too seriously. Clearly, not everyone was laughing, however. Source
  • Avril Lavigne 'most dangerous celebrity' on Internet: McAfee

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - One-time pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne has beaten superstar Beyonce at something, but she may not be totally happy with her victory - she's been named the most dangerous celebrity on the internet. Source
  • Lido Pimienta wins Polaris Music Prize for La Papessa

    Entertainment CBC News
    Colombian immigrant Lido Pimienta has won the 2017 Polaris Music Prize for her album La Papessa. The Spanish-language independent release — which translates to "high priestess" — was selected by an 11-member jury based on its artistic merit. Source
  • At a Toronto library, you can read the first draft of The Handmaid's Tale

    Entertainment CTV News
    In a gently lit reading room inside the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, you can peruse the first draft of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. “I was surprised how few changes she made,” librarian Jennifer Toews told CTV News. Source
  • 2017 fall movie preview: 30 films we’re excited for from ‘Blade Runner 2049’ to ‘Justice League’ [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Despite standouts like Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the Big Sick, Hollywood wasn’t uncorking the champagne as its summer movie slate came to an end. The summer’s $3.8 billion in box-office dough was actually a decline of almost 15% from last year. Source
  • CanLit community celebrates success of 'The Handmaid's Tale' after Emmys

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- When Margaret Atwood took the stage with the team from "The Handmaid's Tale" at the end of Sunday's Emmy Awards, Mike Hamm cheered on the CanLit legend from his Halifax home while the Los Angeles audience gave her a standing ovation. Source
  • 'Wonder Woman' director Patty Jenkins talks film's 'surreal' success, post-credit scenes and the Oscars [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    After the critical and financial success of this summer’s Wonder Woman, director Patty Jenkins is paving the way for DC’s live-action cinematic universe. But when she was shooting the first standalone movie to feature a female superhero since 2005’s Elektra, she just wanted to make a film that satisfied moviegoers. Source
  • Hollywood director James Cameron invests in Saskatchewan pea processing plant

    Entertainment CBC News
    Hollywood director James Cameron and his wife, Suzy Amis Cameron, have announced they are investing in an organic pea processing plant in Saskatchewan. The Oscar-winning Cameron appeared Monday in Vanscoy, a village southwest of Saskatoon, to say the couple have formed Verdient Foods to handle 160,000 tonnes of organic pea protein. Source