George Martin

George Martin got Paul to agree to put a string quartet on the song Yesterday.

george-martinBeatles producer George Martin, who died this week at the age of 90, had been on my mind recently. The family went to not one, but two programs of Deconstructing the Beatles at the end of February.

One show was about the making of the album Rubber Soul, and the other concerning just three songs: Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane and A Day in the Life. Re: the latter, Scott Freiman described, among other things, how Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick meshed two disparate versions of John Lennon’s song Strawberry Fields together, by “speeding up the first version and slowing down the second.”

It was one of 10 Great Beatles Moments We Owe to George Martin, though there were undoubtedly more. “Martin served as expert and conspirator, taskmaster and mad scientist, friend and father figure throughout the band’s studio life. He shaped their songs in ways that are seldom appreciated but impossible to forget.”

When I was watching CBS News This Morning, some “expert” from Rolling Stone told that Strawberry Fields story, but identified the song in question as Penny Lane. Maybe it was an 8 a.m. brain freeze; Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields WERE on the same single. But then CBS played a snippet of Penny Lane, which suggested that they were told in advance by said expert to cue the song actually written by Paul.

The expert also said it was their songwriting prowess that appealed to Martin, when in fact it was their personalities that first convinced him that they would be successful, long before they showed any evidence of musical brilliance.

Earlier that morning, I heard National Public Radio identify George Martin as the Beatles manager – arrgh.

Paul McCartney described how George Martin got Paul to agree to putting a string quartet on the song Yesterday. Later, in his solo career, Paul brought in his proposed songs for the Tug of War album, and Martin’s reaction was something like “that’s nice…where are the real songs?”, which took McCartney aback, but prompted him to write better material.

George Martin: the man who changed pop forever (with a little help from his friends)

Top 10 George Martin Non-Beatles Records

Brian Wilson and George Martin in studio at Brian’s home in LA playing with God Only Knows.

Coverville 1116.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “George Martin”

  1. On one of the Anthology sets, there’s an early take of “I’ll Be Back” in 6/8 time, a demented sub-waltz that John couldn’t even sing; I can just imagine Sir George telling him that it would work better as a straight 4/4.

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