The music world has lost yet another icon this year. George Martin, producer for The Beatles, died in his home on March 8 at the age of 90.
Born in London in 1926, Martin accumulated several awards and recognition throughout his career, including six Grammy awards and two honorary doctorates; one from Berklee School of Music in 1989, and the other from Oxford University in 2011.
Although he may not have had the name recognition that the members of the Fab Four did, Martin was responsible for some of the most distinctive music in Western history. Often referred to as “the fifth Beatle,” Martin brought to the table unique vision and insight that altered the course of pop culture.
Despite not being impressed with The Beatles initially, Martin told jazzwax.com “they learned so quickly how to write a hit. They were like plants in a hothouse. They grew incredibly fast." The partnership between the classically trained Martin and The Beatles, which began in 1962, helped the band achieve the worldwide success during their seven year span.
Martin’s contributions include adding a string quartet to “Yesterday,” vocals in reverse on “Tomorrow Never Knows,” and speeding up the tempo to “Please Please Me,” The Beatles’ first number one hit in England.
The champion of baroque pop was remembered by family, friends, and fans on social media, including Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney.
Beyond The Beatles, Martin’s seven decade career saw him work with artists such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cheap Trick, Elton John, and Celine Dion. Expanding into the film world, Martin produced two of the best known Bond themes; “Goldfinger,” and “Live and Let Die.”
Despite the long list of artists he worked with, Martin played a crucial role in many Beatles projects post-breakup. In 1995, when the three surviving members got together to work on the television documentary series “Anthology,” Martin went back to producing, looking through old recordings. When Cirque De Soleil did “The Beatles Love,” a show mixing performance art with updated Beatle songs, Martin and one of his four children, Giles, were brought in to help.
RIP dad. I love you. I'm so proud to have been your son. I'll miss you more than words can say. Thank you for the all times we had together.— Giles Martin (@mashupmartin) March 9, 2016
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee officially retired in 2009 at the age of 83. Just the year before, he was the musical director for Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee after he was knighted in 1996.
It is impossible to measure just how big of an impact Sir George Martin had on the world. The Beatles very well could have found success without the help of their producer. However, the partnership between the five men gave the world music as it had never heard before. As Martin told Rock Cellar in 2013, “I honestly don’t think I could do anything better than what we did.”
George Martin changed the world. Nothing less. Took a chance on a band nobody wanted called The Beatles. Gold standard of ArrangerProducers.— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) March 9, 2016
Throughout his 70 years working in the music industry, George Martin transformed the way that people experience music. Through technological innovations and a passion for music that matched his genius, Martin will be remembered for the revolutionary music that he helped to create.