People Who Rock: George Martin

George Martin in control room

There is and always will be much debate when it comes to choosing the best among musicians and groups. When it comes to producers however, there is little debate that the late George Martin, who passed away on March 8th at age 90 was the best.

Martin spent the first decade plus of his recording career producing classical, Baroque, program, novelty and comedy records. In fact, his first several “hits” were 1950s audio recordings by later screen stars such as Anthony Hopkins, Dudley Moore and Peter Sellers

With The Beatles, Martin’s first brilliant move was taking a chance on a group which had been turned down by several other labels, even though Martin wasn’t all that impressed by the first recordings. It was the personalities of the individuals who eventually won him over and the rest is history.

The recording innovations that Martin and the group made over the next seven years and eleven studio albums (all but the original Let It Be) are sonic leaps which will never be replicated again. Whether it be his inventive track bouncing to get rich arrangements on only four tracks of tape, his ability to fuse disparate sounds into a unique yet cohesive recording, or simply his ability to produce a phenomenal string of pop hits, George Martin seemed to hit a homer each time he stepped up to the plate.

Following the breakup of The Beatles in 1970, Martin continued to produce records for the next three decades, working with artists such as America, Little River Band, Cheap Trick, Elton John, as well as some of Paul McCartney solo records. He was also a major player in putting together the Beatles Anthology in the mid 1990s and the theatrical production, Love, in 2006.

 

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