Sir George Martin, the composer and producer dubbed ‘The Fifth Beatle’ for the major role he played in bringing The Fab Four to global prominence in the 1960s, and who Paul McCartney referred to as his ‘second father’, died on Tuesday March 8, aged 90.
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr mourned the producer’s passing on social media saying: “God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family love Ringo and Barbara George will be missed.”
“We can confirm that Sir George Martin passed away peacefully at home yesterday evening,” said Adam Sharp, of CA Management, in a statement. “The family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and messages of support.”
Founding member of the band Paul McCartney expressed his grief over Martin’s passing on Facebook, calling him a “second father”.
“From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know,” said McCartney. “The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music.”
Originally a producer of comedy records, Martin was introduced to the work of The Beatles via their manager, Brian Epstein, in 1962, when the band was trying unsuccessfully to find a home for its earliest recordings. After a meeting at Abbey Road studios in London, Martin found he liked the four young men, particularly for their charisma.
Working with the Beatles on all but one of their albums, Martin became one of the greatest producers in the history of popular music, with dozens of number-one hits in the UK and the US across a six-decade career.
Along with engineer Geoff Emerick, Martin became renowned for The Beatles use of unusual studio techniques, experimenting with tape loops and the double-tracking and reversing of sounds used widely on songs like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’ from Revolver (1966).
After the Beatles split up, Martin built the Air Studios on the Caribbean island of Montserrat and went on to work with other artists including Bob Dylan, Sting and Elton John. He also recorded two of McCartney’s solo albums, Tug of War and Pipes of Peace.
Martin was inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 for his outstanding contribution to music. He won seven Grammy Awards and two Brit Awards.
Martin produced recordings for many other artists, including contemporaries of the Beatles, such as Matt Monro, Cilla Black, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, The Fourmost, David and Jonathan, and The Action, as well as The King’s Singers, the band America, guitarists Jeff Beck and John Williams, sixties duo Edwards Hand, Gary Brooker, Neil Sedaka, Ultravox, country singer Kenny Rogers, Cheap Trick and Elton John.