Mar 092016

He was a GREAT man.

He was a GREAT man.

Thanks, George, for adding the polish and enabling the mind-blowing trimmings on Beatles songs, so much of the stuff that has made me content to spend long stretches of my life holed up in a dark room, listening to records.


  6 Responses to “George Martin, Mind-Blowing Enabler, Dead at 90”

  1. misterioso

    Damn, sorry to hear that. Been thinking a lot about George lately. I came across a site with a bunch of isolated tracks from Beatle records (e.g., just the orchestra and synth from “Here Comes the Sun,” etc.) and it was another reminder of just how cool almost all of their recordings sound. Obviously George Martin was a huge part of that. And, of course, where would the Little River Band be today without George?

  2. De mortuis nil nisi bonum and all but I am interested in RTHers’ opinions. How much did Martin add to the Beatles? Would they still have been what they were without him?

    I know Beach Boys’ fans who use the presence of George Martin as one of their main arguments for why the Beach Boys were better than the Beatles. You know “Brian produced the group but the Beatles needed someone outside the group.”

    For all that Martin added I find it hard to give him much of the credit for the Fab Four’s fabness. More than the many other Fifth Beatles we long ago debated here but…

  3. I don’t know, Al, his work beyond the Beatles was terrible, but his being with them long term and having that technical ability to make each of their albums sound fresh had to have been a major effect on their sound and success. He seemed to be there to culture them more than produce them, in some heavy handed way we think of producers like Phil Spector and…Brian Wilson.

    Your friend with the “Brian Wilson produced the Beach Boys therefore they are superior to the Beatles, who needed a producer” is aware that the Beatles actually played the instruments on their albums and that most of the Beach Boys did not, right?

  4. I think I’d say George Martin is the most worthwhile candidate for “Fifth Beatle”. I think his musical knowledge and technical skill as well as his long term tenure established a trust that enabled them to grow exponentially in a way that may have been otherwise impossible.

    I also understand your friend’s point of view; the glimpses of Brian Wilson directing the action in the studio are a stunning indication of his ability to hear the perfect sound in his head and get it from his musicians. Of the Beatles, only Paul would seem likely to have a similar detailed vision. By Geoff Emerick’s account , Lennon was pretty content to state his concepts abstractly and leave it to the pros to sort out the logistics. Martin’s ability to tastefully translate such gestures into concrete arrangements and recordings makes him a pretty indispensable member of Team Beatles.

  5. tonyola

    No question that George Martin was the Fifth Beatle. Listen to the early versions of the Beatle songs and it’s apparent that while the songwriting genius was quite evident, the arrangements were largely amateurish and somewhat ragged. It looks like that it was Martin who whipped the songs into shape and added polish when needed.

  6. tonyola

    I read Geoff Emerick’s book Here, There, and Everywhere and it seemed that he had a bit of a bone to pick with George Martin as to who was responsible for what. He paints Martin as somewhat self-serving and all too willing to take credit for sonic ideas that were really Emerick’s. I suspect that the truth, as often the case, probably resides in the middle.

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