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pic flag England - Full Moon 240 - 03/23/16

George Henry Martin
3 January 1926 - 8 March 2016

There are several contenders for the title the fifth Beatle. There's the original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe who left the band in 1961, remained in Hamburg as an art student when the other lads went home to Liverpool and died the following year due to a cerebral haemorrhage. There's Pete Best the original drummer who was sacked and substituted by Ringo in 1962. And there's of course the manager Brian Epstein who was the first to see the potential in the band when he heard them at the Cavern Club in 1961 and guided them through the heydays until his death in 1967. These days everyone seems to go for the producer, musical advisor, arranger and occasional guest player with the band George Martin. It's hard to disagree. The development of the studio recordings by The Beatles would've been far less adventurous with a less dedicated person behind the desk at Abbey Road Studios.

pic George Martin produced all singles and albums by The Fab Four from 1962 to 1970 apart from the last ones to be released ("The Long And Winding Road"-single and Let It Be, the album). Which means he was the man behind 17 no. 1 singles by the band in the UK and 19 in the USA. He is the one who has produced most no. 1 singles in the UK ever, 30 in all between 1961 ("You're Driving Me Crazy" by The Temperance Seven) and 2003 "Pure" by Hayley Westenra, in the classical charts). The remaining include two by Billy J. Kramer With The Dakotas, two by Gerry & The Pacemakers and one each by Cilla Black, America, Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson, Kenny Rogers and Elton John ("Candle in the Wind", the 1997 Princess Diana memorial version). More interesting, among his more than hundred other productions are artists and groups such as Sidney Torch, Peter Ustinov, Eamonn Andrews, Mandy Miller, Dick James, Ian Wallace, Charlie Drake, Peter Sellers on his own and in company with Sophia Loren ("Goodness Gracious Me"!), Dudley Moore, Shirley Bassey (including the "Goldfinger" single from the James Bond movie of the same name), The Scaffold (the comedy band of Mike McGear, Paul McCartney's younger brother, best known for the single "Lily The Pink"), Stan Getz, Ringo Starr, Seatrain, The King's Singers, Stackridge, Mahavishnu Orchestra(!), America (six albums), Jeff Beck (two of his best solo albums), Jimmy Webb, Neil Sedaka, Gary Brooker (from Procol Harum), Cheap Trick(!), UFO(!!), Little River Band, Ultravox(!!), Paul McCartney (several albums and the James Bond song and single "Live And Let Die" with his band Wings) and Celine Dion. His last studio effort was the dance production and album Love with Beatles recordings revisited and reworked, at the age of 80.

pic Martin quit EMI after almost 20 years' service in 1969 and established his own AIR Studios in central London, later in Monserrat in the Caribbean in addition. The London studios were top-notch in the early 1970s. When Pink Floyd was to complete their recording of Meddle in 1971, they had to move over from EMI's Abbey Road Studios to AIR, because AIR had 16 track recording machines at the time whereas Abbey Road only possessed eight. In hindsight, though, George Martin is probably more hailed for the production wizardry he achieved with only four tracks at Abbey Road, as late as in 1967 with "Strawberry Fields" and Sgt. Pepper.

Work well done! Rest in peace!

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