5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Sir George Martin

March 9, 2016
"Of all the arts, music is the most sublime, and touches the heart of every human being." ---Sir George Martin, in the introduction to his book Making Music.

Beatles fans are celebrating the life today of a man who changed the world of popular music, without singing a single note. Martin, who died Tuesday at age 90, was best known for musically guiding the Beatles to unprecedented success, as he produced all but one of the albums that came out while the band was together.

Here are some other things you might not have known about the man some called "The 5th Beatle."

1. Before he produced the Beatles, he had produced some jazz records, but was known mostly for his work on comedy records, including works by everyone from Peter Sellers to Spike Jones.

2. At first, Martin wasn't that impressed with the Beatles music, but thought they had charisma and a great sense of humor. According to legend, when the band came to audition for him, he asked if there was anything the band didn't like. He was talking about the gear he had set up for them, but George Harrison quipped "Well for a start, I don't like your tie."

3.  Martin played piano on a few Beatles songs, indcluding "In My Life."  He says he wasn't a very good pianist and couldn't play the song as fast he wanted it, so he played it slowly and sped up the tape.

4. He produced albums for other artists, including Jeff Beck, America, and Cheap Trick, and even country star Kenny Rogers. Martin also produced Elton John's 1997 version of "Candle in the Wind." after the death of Princess Diana.

5. His son. Giles, followed in his father's footsteps as a music producer. Most notably,  he created new productions of the Beatles songs that wound up in the Rockband video game. Even if you think that game is silly, you should listen to the recordings sometime. They have some really cool differences from the original versions.

Below: one of my favorite George Martin productions, with Lennon's reverse vocal at the end:

 

George Martin photo: Wikimedia commons