Sir George Martin, Legendary Beatles Producer, Has Died At 90

Robbie Daw | March 9, 2016 9:40 am

Sir George Martin, the legendary music producer behind 23 chart-topping hits in the United States and 30 #1s in the UK — many by the Beatles, the band whose sound he helped shape for their seven most important years — has passed away at the age of 90. Martin reportedly died “peacefully at home” in England, according to the producer’s representative Adam Sharp.

“In a career that spanned seven decades he was recognized globally as one of music’s most creative talents and a gentleman to the end. The family ask that their privacy be respected at this time,” Sharp said.

Martin, born in the London district of Highbury on January 3, 1926, pursued an early interest in music, though he briefly spent time during World War II as a teenager in the Royal Navy. Using his veteran’s grant money, Martin attended Guildhall School Of Music And Drama. After graduating, he briefly worked in the BBC’s classical music department before moving over to EMI in 1950 as an assistant to Parlophone label head Oscar Preuss.

Martin made a name for himself in the 1950s by producing comedy and novelty records, but an introduction to the Beatles‘ manager Brian Epstein 1962 would alter the course of music history, not to mention popular culture in general, forever.

Martin signed the Beatles to EMI, thus beginning the most successful artist-producer partnership in popular music. “She Loves You,” “Twist & Shout,” “Help!”, “Hey Jude” and “Come Together” were just a handful of the classic hits Martin, who came to be known as “the fifth Beatle,” produced for the band before their split in 1970, and he often provided orchestral arrangements for their music, such as on “I Am The Walrus” and “Eleanor Rigby.”

The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band won the band and producer Martin a Grammy for Album Of The Year.

A quarter century after John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr went their separate ways, Martin oversaw the post-production on The Beatles Anthology, a series of three double-albums (largely featuring unreleased material) released between 1995 and 1996 that tied in with the same-titled ITV/ABC television documentary focusing on the band.

Along with his son Giles Martin, the producer remixed over an hour of Beatles music for Cirque du Soleil and Apple Corps’ co-production Love, which premiered in Las Vegas in 2006.

After the split of the Beatles, George Martin went on to produce such hit singles as America‘s “Sister Golden Hair,” Paul McCartney & Wings‘ James Bond theme song “Live And Let Die” and two chart-topping McCartney duets in the early 1980s, “Ebony And Ivory” with Stevie Wonder and “Say, Say, Say” with Michael Jackson.

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