George Martin

Sir George Martin CBE was The Beatles' producer, arranger and mentor, who signed them to EMI and worked on the vast majority of songs throughout their career.

The early years

He was born George Henry Martin on 3 January 1926. At the age of six his interest in music was piqued by a piano which the Martin family acquired. Two years later he persuaded his parents to let him have lessons, though he only had eight due to disagreements between his mother and the teacher. Following that, Martin taught himself to play piano.

He went to a number of London schools as a child, including St Joseph's elementary in Highgate and St Ignatius College in Stamford Hill. When St Ignatius pupils were sent to Welwyn Garden City as evacuees during the war, the Martin family moved from London and George enrolled at Bromley Grammar School.

His passion for music grew throughout his school days, which included a memorable performance from the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult.

It was absolutely magical. Hearing such glorious sounds I found it difficult to connect them with 90 men and women blowing into brass and wooden instruments or scraping away at strings with horsehair bows.
George Martin

During the war he worked briefly as a quantity surveyor and a clerk in the War Office, and in 1943 joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. He remained there until 1947, becoming a pilot and commissioned officer, though he didn't see combat during the war.

George Martin, Dick James and Brian EpsteinMartin used his war veteran's grant to enrol at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama between 1947 and 1950, where he studied piano and oboe, and the music of Ravel, Rachmaninov, Cole Porter and Johnny Dankworth. Coincidentally, his oboe teacher was Margaret Asher; she was the mother of Jane Asher, who had a relationship with Paul McCartney in the 1960s.

In 1948, on his 22nd birthday, George Martin married Sheena Chisholm. They had two children, Alexis and Gregory, but later divorced. In June 1966 he married Judy Lockhart-Smith. They also had two children, Lucy and Giles.

After graduating from Guildhall he worked at the BBC's classical music department, and in 1950 joined EMI as an assistant to Parlophone boss Oscar Preuss. At that time Parlophone, a German EMI imprint, was largely seen as a novelty label of little relevance.

When Preuss retired in 1955, Martin took over as head of Parlophone. His greatest successes came with comedy and novelty records from artists including the Goons, Rolf Harris, Flanders and Swann and, most successfully, the Beyond the Fringe show, starring Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller.

In 1962, using the pseudonym Ray Cathode, Martin released an electronic dance single called Time Beat, recorded at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Keen to capitalise on the burgeoning UK rock 'n' roll scene, he began looking for a group to work with.

With The Beatles

Martin was told about Brian Epstein, who was managing a pop group that had been turned down by the majority of labels including Decca. He arranged to meet Epstein on 13 February 1962, where he heard the Decca recordings, which he thought "unpromising". He did, however, think well of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's vocals.

The pair met again on 9 May at Abbey Road, where they agreed a contract without Martin having met The Beatles or seen them perform. The contract, which he felt gave him "nothing to lose", promised The Beatles a royalty of one penny for each record sold.

George Martin agreed to sign the contract only when he had heard an audition from the band. This took place on 6 June 1962, produced by Ron Richards with engineer Norman Smith. Martin was not present at the session, but did meet the band and listened to the recordings. While he thought the band's original songs below par, he was impressed by their wit: when he asked them if there was anything they didn't like, George Harrison replied, "I don't like your tie". From then on the session was filled with jokes, which warmed Martin towards them.

The Beatles returned to Abbey Road on 4 September, with new drummer Ringo Starr, for their first session with George Martin. He made them record How Do You Do It, which the band reluctantly agreed to, along with Love Me Do and a slower version of Please Please Me.

Unhappy with Ringo's drumming, Martin made them re-record Love Me Do a week later with session drummer Andy White. When it reached number 17 in the charts, Martin brought them back into the studio to record a follow-up.

Please Please Me was recorded in November 1962. At the end of the session, he addressed the band from the control room, telling them: "Gentlemen, you have just made your first number one record."

Many early Beatles songs were rehearsed and arranged on the spot in the studio, immediately prior to recording. As The Beatles' confidence and curiosity in the studio grew, George Martin encouraged them to experiment, and gradually the old conventions of recording was questioned and often discarded.

Martin acted as the band's arranger, and he played piano on a number of songs from the release of the Please Please Me album. He suggested adding a string quartet to Yesterday, and scored other songs including Eleanor Rigby and Penny Lane.

He was also called upon to offer solutions to the musically-untrained Beatles' often wayward requests. These included the splicing together of two takes, recorded in different keys and tempi, of Strawberry Fields Forever, the circus noises on Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!, and the realisation of the orchestral climaxes during A Day In The Life.

As George Martin was unable to write the score for She's Leaving Home, Paul McCartney asked Mike Leander instead. Martin was hurt, but nonetheless conducted the orchestra and produced the recording.

Martin - who had left EMI's employment in 1965 but continued to work in a freelance capacity - became greatly in demand with other artists, and was unavailable during a number of sessions for The Beatles and Let It Be. He did, however, score the Yellow Submarine soundtrack and produced the band's final album, Abbey Road.

George Martin autograph, 2010After The Beatles' break-up, George Martin continued to produce a range of artists via his company Associated Independent Recording (AIR). He worked with Jeff Beck, Tom Jones, Celine Dion and many more, and in 1979 opened a studio in Montserrat.

In 1994 and 95 he oversaw the post-production of the Anthology albums, once again working with The Beatles' engineer Geoff Emerick. He used an eight-track analogue mixing desk, which he felt had a truer sound than its modern digital counterparts. He did, however, decline to produce Free As A Bird and Real Love, saying his hearing wasn't up to the task.

In 2006 George Martin and his son Giles embarked on an ambitious remix project of The Beatles' songs for the Cirque Du Soleil's joint venture with Apple Corps. The result was the Love album, which contained extracts from over 130 Beatles songs. It included a new orchestral score, written by Martin, for a solo demo of While My Guitar Gently Weeps originally recorded by George Harrison in 1968.

Sir George died on the night of 8 March 2016. His death was announced by Ringo Starr on Twitter:

63 responses on “George Martin

  1. pat

    “Unhappy with Ringo’s drumming, Martin made them re-record Love Me Do a week later with session drummer Andy White.”

    Not true. If you watch Anthology, both Starr and Martin agree that Martin had booked Andy White to replace Pete Best, because Martin didn’t like Best.

    Ringo actually showed up to play on Love Me Do, but Martin had already booked White. Martin said “I don’t even know who you are” to Ringo. He said he was burned once (with Best). He was going to use Andy White.

    Ringo played on the second recording of Love Me Do. This is all spelled out clearly if you watch Anthology when Best was replaced by Starr.

    1. Joe Post author

      Pete Best played during the first EMI session on 6 June 1962; Ringo played on 4 September; Andy White on 11 September. George Martin booked White because he didn’t want to take any more chances with the song (as you quote, “I don’t even know who you are”), as the 4 September version – featuring Ringo – wasn’t satisfactory.

      As for Anthology, Ringo says Andy White was pre-booked because of Pete Best, while Paul McCartney says George Martin didn’t like Ringo’s drumming (“to George he was not as pinpoint as a session guy would be”). Either way it seems clear that Martin was unhappy with Ringo’s drumming, otherwise he’d have used him on the third Love Me Do session.

      George Martin didn’t even produce the 11 September session featuring Andy White; Ron Richards did. Martin only arrived towards the end, when they were recording an early version of Please Please Me.

  2. Jammy_jim

    Has anyone read Martin’s book “All you need is ears”? Wow! The book reeks of cynicism and negativity aimed at everyone — but Paul. Most glaring are his harsh critiques of George (seems to have changed his tune for the Scorsese film). For example, he waves off “Something,” one of the greatest most beautiful songs ever written, as `so simple, really…’ Simple? Hardly. A masterpiece? Definitely.

    1. Matt

      “Something” is a masterpiece largely because of Martin’s arrangement. I first saw this song in a book of 100 easy listening classics before I ever heard the record and could not possibly imagine how you could arrange it to make it sound any good. When I first heard the record I was stunned by the genius of the arrangement.

      1. Rocky

        Yes, George Martin’s arrangement did add to the beauty of Something. However, if you listen to any version stripped of the orchestra that accompanies it on Abbey Road, it’s still a beautiful and stunning song.

        Listen to the Something version on Anthology 3. It’s already powerful enough with George simply singing and playing the guitar. If you still don’t believe me, listen to the earlier takes, such as takes 27 (you can find them on youtube). If that still doesn’t do it, listen to his version on George Harrison’s Live In Japan album. The coy introduction, the organ. It’s still an immaculate song without the arrangement.

        I don’t disagree that Martin’s arrangement was fantastic; it was beautiful, and complimented the song perfectly. However, I feel as though Harrison deserves the credit for making “Something” and masterpiece, not Martin. Just food for thought! I’m so glad that George Martin let young Harrison help conduct the arrangement when it came time for recording it.

          1. Brawn Lennon

            That’s that same crap argument Lennon used. You know what the answer is? Listen to the albums. If you hear strings, brass, or woodwinds, there’s a good chance it’s ‘his’ music.

            Martin was integral to the Beatles, both as a composer and guide. They would not be the band we all love without him. If you want a dumb argument in his favor, compare the albums Martin had a hand in with the one he didn’t.

  3. David

    Is there any film of George Martin playing piano on any Beatles tracks? Especially on some of the rockers?

    Not that I’m denying it’s him: I just think it might be amusing, and illuminating, to see him playing 12-bar rock ‘n roll!

  4. Justin

    George Martin lucked out by being The Beatles producer, and he’s turned it into a life-long career. Before them, what was he doing? The bottom of the barrel stuff like comedy records. Was he instrumental in getting them to realize their sound in the studio? Yeah. That doesn’t mean that he has the right to milk it out for the last 40 years.

    1. Joe Post author

      What a mean spirited comment. Yes, he lucked out by meeting The Beatles, in the same way The Beatles lucked out by meeting him. It was a fantastic turn of events which resulted in some amazing music, which may not have happened if they’d never met.

      You seem to think he did little or nothing before or since working with The Beatles, which seems rather ignorant. And why doesn’t he have the right to speak about his many achievements in the 1960s? If I’d produced Revolver and Abbey Road I’d probably never stop going on about it.

      1. Justin

        I did come off pretty harsh there, and I didn’t voice my opinion very well. I do see the ying/yang aspect of it, they did feed off of each other, at least up until about the White Album. I had just been reading some things where he was critical of them, and at times I get tired of hearing him go on and on about them, and it feels like he’s trying to make a quick buck. Again, I should’ve taken the time to be a little more tactful with my comment.

    2. Anthony

      George Martin used his talent to perfect that of the Beatles. Without him, they probably would have been successful, but not nearly as quickly nor as largely as they are in this life. George Martin emphasized their stronger skills and assisted their weaker ones with his arrangements and deserves to milk their success as part of his own. This is the sole purpose of editors, arrangers and/or mentors; to fine tune the raw talents of their students and turn them into masters of their craft.

    3. SirHuddlestonFuddleston

      The Beatles were very lucky that they met Martin, and not a standard pop producer of the time who would have, as a music expert put it “ruined them.” Consider Mickey Most and the Stones: all he was interested in was singles, but the Beatles basically created album rock; all Most helped produce were the singles, whereas Martin was absolutely necessary to the excellence of the product that marks all Beatles stuff (except Let it Be, thanks Phil!); and all Most cared about was the tune which he liked the best at the time; Martin similarly wanted the Beatles to record How Do You Do It, by a professional songwriter, thereby perpetuating the old songwriter/producer stranglehold on music creation. The Beatles blew all that up, but only because Martin was willing to let them try.

  5. Danny

    Ye well said Joe, George Martin did some incredible things with some of the beatles records. And like you say too, The Beatles might have never been successful if Martin had turned them down as well!

  6. paulsbass

    I guess this is Justin Bieber speaking, being jealous about the fantastic achievements George Martin had with the Beatles (and other acts).
    He did as much for them as they did for him. He turned their rough act into something broadly accessable – while allowing them to keep their edges.
    He guided their overwhelming imagination and playfulness into productive and disciplined work – while allowing them to be creative and explore something new every day.
    He provided them with the best musicians and technicians available – and they gave him their best.
    He always trusted them and supported their risky moves, and they never let him down, they always delivered.

  7. JoeyV

    Pretty cool discussion. I’m a student of history and the Beatles are a part of our history. It’s amazing how all of the ingredients came together in this cauldron. I admire how Sir George handled himself in that situation. Indeed all of them proved to me not only how human they were, but how “just like us” they really are. Think about it. They were kids looking for a way out or a better way to live and they had something. A way out! Yes the recording company’s were businesses with rules, formalities, structure and procedures. Each person involved dealt with what was in front of them. It truly is a great story of dreams coming true. Congratulations and thank you Sir George Martin! While doing something you loved, you made the world a better place! joev

  8. berit, norway

    Sooo good to see people being engaged in discussion about the fab 4! They were all four very different personalities, a fact this little anecdode illustrates. Years after the split, when peole were starting to talk of/demand a reunion, Ringo was interviewed on US TV. Asked his opinion on a future reunion, he replied: “Nah, I don’t ever foresee that possibility. As it is we have all the audience of the world. John’s got all the intellectuals, George’s got all the mystics, Paul’s got the teenagers and I’ve got all the mums.” šŸ™‚ YEAH, right! Tell me how I can contact George Martin as I am returning for another visit to Montserrat and have high hopes he’ll agree to rebuild the studio he once had there, or at least assist in promoting this idea to someone serious (reads as Clapton who is/was involved and owns a beautiful housing complex in Antigua). If you’d been to M’serrat you’d know the people there deserve it.

  9. paz

    Even George Martin admits he was not especially impressed with the initial sounds he heard coming from the band…………..but he heard something different that started to hook his interest..a relaxation of the then musical rules… and Paul and John just knew how to make it work…..every time. Thank god lightning struck twice/three times in Liverpool and once more in London with Mr Martin.

  10. Waikato Willie

    there are some people commenting on here who have very little knowledge of GM or the Beatles. Suggest you watch the recently broadcast BBC documentary about George Martin to understand how much he rated the Beatles as a whole, and what he had done previously and has done since.

  11. Joshua Adams

    George martin and brian epstein pretty much created the beatles/ they had their formative period but in 1962 they were molded and became a marketable franchise til their breakup in 69, some tend to disregard that martin and epstein were the brains of the operation and mccartney was the composer that provided the material.

  12. jim mcGuire

    In 1962 the recording session for Love me do- Ps i love you- and please please me George martin after hearing recording from Pete Best wasnt very happy- so ringo recorded those songs and was still unhappy, in an interview with hunter davies he brought in andy white because he had a proven tract record as a session drummer and George worked well with session musicians in the past. in the interview andy whites version where better sounding then the versions by Pete and Ringo. The Ringo version was released on the british charts in 1963 went to #17. George Martin didnt like this because he believed love me do should of been a #1- Andy whites version was released in 1964 world wide was a #1. I belive the beatles changed the music world and as Paul stated thank god george martin was there for us we didnt like the decision to bring in Andy but it worked out in the end.

  13. Julian

    George Martin didn’t think that Love Me Do would go high on the charts. So the fact that it went to number 17 in NME was a positive surprise to him.

  14. beatle1965

    Ringo quoted that he was very upset bringing in Andy white and to this day he still call George Martin a Bugger and has had very little conversation with george since the break up.

  15. Alan Light

    Detail relating to acquisition by Brian Epstein of the Parlophone recording contract for the Beatles. All events take place in 1962
    (This data distilled from the book ā€˜Tune in -All these years ā€˜written by Mark Lewisohn)
    After the Decca rejection Brian Epstein visited the HMV record shop (London) to meet the General Manager Robert Boast . Brian had met Robert in Germany. It was suggested to Brian that he have the tape transcribed to 78 Acetate. Facility being available at the HMV shop. Brian accepted.
    During this process the technician, Jim Foy, recommended to Brian that he meet with Sid Coleman ā€“General Manager of Ardmore and Beechwood (music publishers) who were part of the EMI organisation. A & B were located in the same building .Brian agreed.
    Coleman was interested in publishing Lennon and McCartney songs. He had heard 3 on the acetates.
    13 Feb. George Martins diary featured an item ā€˜meeting Bernard Epsteinā€™.
    Meeting took place- meeting finished ā€“George did not commit. George took no further action.

    Possible reasons for why the meeting transpired
    1) According to Kim Bennett (salesman with A & B ) ā€˜Sid Coleman approached Len G. Wood (Managing Director of EMI) and tried to persuade Len to offer the Beatles a contract. Len in turn asked his producers available that day . All rejected the Beatles .Possibly George Martin was not available that day.
    Sid had taken ā€˜Like Dreamers Doā€™ with him.
    It is possible that Sid pushed a bit harder and got the date in George Martinā€™s diary.
    2) Kim Bennett heard ā€˜Like Dreamers Doā€™ and liked it very much. Kim wanted to record ā€˜Like Dreamers doā€™ by private arrangement-cheap deal where A &B would pay the cost of the recording session.
    In return A & B would get publishing revenues for 50 years. Kim asked Sid to suggest the idea to Len Wood
    Idea rejected by Len Wood-ā€˜you stick to publishing ā€“we will stick to recording ā€™replied Len.
    Possibly the meeting (with George Martin) was created to soften the blow of this rejection. A sop
    The exact detail of how the 13th Feb. meeting was arranged may never be fully known.

    Unlikely that Sid approached George Martin directly. Sidā€™s regular contact was with Len Wood, and according to Kim Bennett Sid and George did not get on.
    (Later events would support this opinion. After the success of Please Please Me ,George Martin steered the Beatles away from A & B for the publishing rights of Lennon and McCartney songs )

    Likely events leading to the contract:

    Martin had signed a new personal contract with E M I however, he, George Martin, was not happy . Martin wanted a royalty . Len G Wood said no!

    23 -25 April George gave a presentation at the Norbreck Hydo-large hotel in Blackpool-North West England.
    George took with him the Parlophone secretary ( her name was Judy and the lover of George).
    Subsequently L.G. Wood found out and was livid.
    But then:
    At a regular meeting between Sid Coleman and Len G Wood it was decided to give the Beatles a contract.
    Potential Reasons :
    1 As a sop to Sid Coleman . To get A&B off his back
    and /or
    2 To register the disdain from Len Wood to George Martin for the Blackpool incident.
    George was being punished.

    i.e. the reason for the Beatles contract had nothing to do with the talent of the Beatles.. The main motives being the acquisition of publishing rights on the ā€˜Like Dreamers doā€™ song and/or office politics.
    9th May . Brain met with George Martin Wednesday 11.30-The commercial detail pertaining to the Beatles being given a standard 4 year contract, was discussed.
    If the Beatles sold 1,000,000 records then each Beatle would receive Ā£750
    Letter sent to Brian .
    Enclosed contract was signed and duly returned
    6th June recording date set.

  16. Jerry

    I have read all the replys regarding George Martin’s contribution to the Beatles, I have analyzed each song from the beginning Albums with my “The Complete Beatles Piano/Vocal Books”. As a music theory project I found song after song Martin had taught an element of beginning Music Theory. McCartney has too much knowledge for what he has done. Lennon, grasped the concept of the 12 Bar and was satisfied to pen his wit and political stand for words. George, enjoyed building his technical performance. Ringo finally found the pocket! I have no interest in the money nor he said/she said but I personally feel George Martin was an excellent instructor and guidance through that time they were exposed to one another.

    1. Boo Long

      John Lennon wrote songs with a great range of chord sequences… “grasped the concept of the 12 Bar” implies he only wrote to 3-chord blues sequences. He may not have understood the theory of what he was writing as much as Paul Mccartney did, but he was no less imaginative for it…

  17. Johan cavalli

    George Martin didnĀ“t always understand LennonĀ“s music. Martin brought up in the 1930s, and wanted the pop music to sound like Irwing BerlinĀ“s songs. Martin couldnĀ“t realize that Lennon had at least two kind of melody types: one with an outer mobility, and one with an inner mobility. In the outer mobility melody type the melody goes up and down in the scale, and uses several notes. In the inner mobility melody type, the melody consists of only one note, but the background changes instead., for example in Julia.
    –Martin preferred Love Me Do instead of Ask Me Why (The Mammut Book of the Beatles, Sean Egan, 2009).
    –Martin didnĀ“t like Tomorrow Never Knows, when he heard it the first time (The Beatles, Bob Spitz, 2005, pg 601).
    –Martin didnĀ“t like All You Need Is Love when he heard it the first time (the book above, pg 700).
    –Martin didnĀ“t like I Am The Walrus when he heard it the first time (Here There and Everywhere, Geoff Emerick, 2006, pg 213).
    Martin was were more close to McCartney, than to Lennon (the book above pg 7).
    –1964 there was an LP record released by Martin called Off The Beatles Track, with MartinĀ“s instrumentations. In I Want to Hold Your Hand, Martin completely missed the point: he didnĀ“t put in the octave run in ā€œā€¦I want to hold your HAND!!!…ā€. The same mistake in Please Please Me: he didnĀ“t put in the octave run in ā€œā€¦it so hard to reason with YOU!!!…ā€, the most important bits in these two songs. He wanted them to sound more commercial. The octave runs are too expressive.

  18. Leonora

    Hello everybody! Has anyone listen to the album “George Martin and his orchestra, HELP”? I listen to it and wondered, if the Beatles aprooved such thing. It sounds really horrible. It’s supermarket music!!! Does anyone know more about this, and what beatles thought about this? Thank you, Leonora

  19. Johan cavalli

    Yes Leonora,
    I have listened to it. Once again I can hear that George Martin didnĀ“t understand LennonĀ“s music. He does Help in staccato!! Horrible, despite typical for Lennon is that he had long notes. And you cannot hear anything from the background in the song either,another typical feature with Lennon is just using the same notes, but instead let the background change. But nothing of this here.
    And in LennonĀ“s Ticket To Ride George Martin has completely missed the point. “… is going away…” must be in a dissonce chord!!The most important bit in the song. But nothing here. And in this song Lennon for the first time has long parts with only one chord, and a bourdon note, that give you that suggestive feeling. But nothing here.
    Martin tried to do LennonĀ“s music as pop music from the 1930s. Martin always praised McCartney, because McCartneyĀ“s music resembles the music from 1930s. Martin even treated Lennon unfair. Up to 1966 Lennon had composed most of the hits in The Beatles. Despite that George Martin said in the summer 1966, that McCartney composed almost all music in The Beatles. George Martin contributed to the Beatles split.

    1. Richard Boene

      I have never encountered Martin’s claim that McCartney “composed almost all the music in the Beatles.” Do you think you could provide a source for that segment of the interview?

  20. Johan cavalli

    I talked with members in a pop music band in the summer of 1966. They had talked with George Martin soon before. Martin said it.
    Many many times George Martin (wrongly) said that Lennon was more interested in words than in music. George Martin gave Lennon a wrong image.
    In his book Summer of Love, George Martin writes: ” Paul McCartney has a sense of structure in his compositions that very few popular songwriters have ever had. He instinctively had much more musicianship in him than any of the others did: Paul had the makings of a great composer”. “John would probably have ended up as a sort of Lou Reed…” —-The oracle have talked.– In the same book George Martin writes patronizing that after Lennon had for the first time had listened to RavelĀ“s Daphnis and Chloe about ten minutes, he couldnĀ“t remember the beginning (!!)
    The Beatles break through was Please Please Me 1963 with a melody with a new expressionistic tension, far away from 1930s. We all know today that it is a completely Lennon composition. George Martin irritated Lennon with statements that it is a joint composition by John and Paul. See the book Lennon Letters.

  21. Johan cavalli

    To Richard Boene
    No, itĀ“s OK! You see, Beatles, or LennonĀ“s music, is a life passion for me. I have a habit of reading or buying all books about The Beatles, and I am shocked over how enormously much credit McCartney has got during decades of music he hasnĀ“t composed! ItĀ“s scandalous. How could this happen? The Beatles is music history, and history must be written in a correct way! There is a need of a scientific resinvestigation about this wrong history.

    In 1969 Lennon was very depressed: ” Most people thinks it was all Paul or George Martin”. (According to Allen Klein in GoldmanĀ“s book from 1988). In that book for the first time it is written that Paul “wants to give the impression that heĀ“s done it all by himself”. But McCartney condemned the book, so the establishment and the public, didnĀ“t discovered the criticism of him.

    Lennon said 1970, that the filming of Let it Be “was one of the main reasons The Beatles ended”. The film “was set up by Paul for Paul”. “He wanted to show that he was The Beatles”. But nobody cared. The esatblishment adored McCartney. For them the reason to the split was Yoko Ono and Allen Klein.

  22. Richard Boene

    I realize that you have strong feelings about John Lennon and his place in the history of the Beatles Mr. Cavalli, but that does not mean you can expect everyone here to share your viewpoints. While I appreciate your willingness to cite your sources, that alone does not automatically render them reliable. I will confess that I have often felt that many fans (and some writers) of the Beatles are a little too quick to give too much credit to Lennon for many reasons, much as you seem to feel the same way about McCartney, and I also find your assertion that McCartney was “adored” by the establishment to be a bit of an oversimplification. Lennon certainly had his fans and supporters too. This does not mean that I take everything McCartney has said over the years as gospel truth, but I have often had reason to question certain biased assertions about Lennon who was not always entirely reliable with his own observations either. That is why I have to do my own research and form my own conclusions.

    In fact, this particular subject is far too complex for me to elaborate on even where George Martin is concerned. But I will say that since I have encountered examples of Martin praising Lennon and his own talents, I will have to respectfully take your observations with some speculation. It’s nothing personal. But I won’t elaborate on my previous points here, given that if I did we would run the risk of getting off topic since this comments section is specifically related to George Martin. And I would not want Joe to be unhappy with us since we have already come close to veering away from the subject of Martin.

  23. Johan cavalli

    To Richard Boene.
    Thank you for answering me.I respect your points. Just a little detail: If somebody has given Lennon too much credit, is it for his m u s i c ?? No! People – and himself! – talked almost only about his lyric,peace activities and personality.

  24. Richard Boene

    As far as I am concerned that is all the more reason for me to be careful when analyzing Lennon’s music. Now I’m not saying that he does not have any noteworthy musical accomplishments to his credit, but I strongly feel that if one were so quick to lavish such attention and rhetoric on the other aspects of Lennon’s life and legacy it would probably be a little too easy to mislead oneself into doing the very same thing with his music without enough consideration for the reliability of the sources, which is something that I have often felt that far too many fans of Lennon are apt to do.

  25. Johan cavalli

    I can talk very much of LennonĀ“s music, just his music. (His personality is for me completely uninteresting, and his lyrics is a small thing comparing with his music). And I donĀ“t make it superficially, I hope. He is one of the greatest composer ever. As you said, this place is about George Martin. You would read me talking a little more about LennonĀ“s music — or am I too nagging — in another place in Beatles Bible?

    1. Richard Boene

      As a matter of fact Mr. Cavalli, I have read you talking about Lennon’s music in several places here on this website. Some of the things you have stated are true as far as I know, but some were your own personal opinions and observations, which of course one cannot state without expecting disagreements here and there. And indeed in a few instances some people here have openly disagreed with your conclusions. But that sort of thing is to be expected on websites such as these where fans and experts of a particular subject often reach differing conclusions for whatever reason.

      If you want me to be honest there were instances where I wondered if some of the sources you cited were truly reliable in the sense that you seemed to think they were. And there were others where I did not believe some of the things you stated could automatically be taken as the absolute truth simply because you stated them so stridently. And unfortunately there were a few instances where I felt that you resorted to a similar kind of rhetoric I have often encountered among fans of Lennon in order to assert your feelings about his accomplishments. No one is immune from allowing their personal biases to get in the way of their judgements (and I am definitely not an exception).

      But all of that aside, nobody here is going to ask you to apologize for stating your viewpoints and beliefs on this website. Whoever may agree or disagree with you, nobody is going to tell you that your observations and viewpoints have no place on this website. No matter how “nagging” they may come across to some, you do not have any less a right to state them as you see fit than anyone else who visits this site, as long as they are related to the subject at hand. When one reads a comment on a site such as this one, it is up to the reader to find as much validity and insight as can be personally found. As far as I know, only if one posted a comment entirely lacking in relevance and dependent on ad hominem attacks would Joe, the creator and administrator of this website intervene with one’s right to post a comment here.

      This constitutes my last post on this matter, given that I think I have taken it as far as I can. I won’t take it any further unless there is anything more to be said about George Martin. Whatever anyone thinks of your viewpoints, it should not discourage you from continuing to post on this site and you can do so as much as you see fit. (Although you may want to do so in sections that are more specific to John Lennon if he remains the primary subject matter of your viewpoints, but by now I think you would know that they are easy to find.) If I or anyone else disagrees with you and states why this is, you must not take it personally because disagreement and debate are to be expected on such complex subjects as “The Beatles.”

      Best regards,


      1. Rock Paizis

        I’m very surprised by this banter between Johan and Richard. Are either of you musicians? I’m not here to toot my own horn but I have a pretty good grasp of music theory. Both John and Paul’s compositions were simply brilliant. Period. And George Martin was instrumental in making this great music accessible to the masses. That’s it! It’s not THAT complicated. I’ve read direct quotes from G.M. stating that both John and Paul were brilliant composers. Nothing I’ve heard him say sounds like he favored one over the other. He appreciated their brilliance and was surprised by their “blooming like plants in a hothouse”. He said they were very quick learners in the field of successful songwriting. And on many occasions, especially praised Lennon as having a “great voice”. One that could send “shivers down the spine”.

        1. Richard Boene

          I am indeed a musician. And I concur with much of what Rock says here.

          Having said that, I want to express my regret over my own role in what clearly became an off topic word exchange. I am as guilty of this as anyone here. Perhaps I have been overly cautious in my desire to provide counterbalance to viewpoints which while they certainly don’t upset me, still give me reason to question their fairness and reliability. In this case I will concede that I fell into the very same trap that far too many other commentators have here. Assuming that no one holds anything further against me, I will move forward with all assurance that I will not let this happen again on my own account.

          I have always been a great admirer of George Martin and his accomplishments, and I only wanted to ensure that the balance of available viewpoints would remain even.

  26. Bob Dale

    What an interesting series of comments, criticisms and expert opinions (Not). Collectively they have little to do with George Martin but speak volumes about their individual authors’ egos and fascination with trivia. All in all,”Much ado about nothing” Get a Life.

    1. Clara

      That was rude. Yes, people have gotten a little off topic sometimes here whenever they have disagreed about the Beatles. That you believe they may have gone a little too far in this case is noted. That doesn’t necessarily give you any right to tell them what to do with their individual lives. I’m surprised that Joe allowed your comment to be posted given its lack of civility in regard to what he usually expects for this site.

  27. Tom

    Simply put, All members, AND staff, played their parts. Sir George Martin did, in fact, arrive to The Beatles, with quite a qualified resume. He was successful BEFORE and AFTER The Beatles. As talented as The Beatles proved to be, I truly believe that, had George Martin not crossed paths with the group, they would have seen little, if ANY success. Likewise with Brian Epstein. The Beatles had gone from a leather-clad “Bar Band” to a group of poised professionals-thanks to Mr. Epstein’s guidance. His keen (and shrewd) business sense propelled the into a world marketplace that they couldn’t possibly have mustered, on their own-a marketplace they, perhaps, didn’t realize was out there. The Beatles ushered in the Stadium rock concert era…thanks to Brian Epstein. Imagine a 23 year old Paul, sitting on a chair, finger-picking YESTERDAY on his acoustic, with strings to accompany him. That was George Martin’s arrangement…and Brian Epstein who secured their bookings on large-scale, live TV, for the world to take it in…and THAT just scratches the surface for the contributions by Brian Epstein and Sir George Martin.

  28. Johan cavalli

    That George Martin missed the octave leap — the most important bit in the song – in his instrumental version of Please Please Me in the record “Off The Beatle Track” from 1964, reminds me about this: Pierre Boulez railed against conductors “who tried to make “Pelleas et Melisande” by Debussy, boring with discretion worthy footman, interpretation in which many contrasts in the work were reduced to a minute scale and robbed of their potency and violence.”. The conductors could not in the beginning interpret Debussy correct, as George Martin couldnĀ“t interpret Lennon.

  29. Richard Boene

    It has been confirmed that George Martin passed away just yesterday at the age of 90. He will be greatly missed.

    Ringo Starr and Sean Lennon have already given their public condolences.

  30. littlepatbelle

    Very sad news. I only recently got into the Beatles and when I was reading about GM I thought about what a talented and a special person he was. Few weeks back I was thinking “I’m so glad despite his age he’s still alive…

  31. rancicr85Joe

    Ironic that Johan Cavalli obsesses about George Martin’s failure to understand Lennon’s genius when It was Martin who suggested to accelerate the tempo on “Please Please Me.”
    That change started the Beatles’ ascent to the stratosphere. I do think George was more simpatico with Paul, but that was more a matter of temperament and personality compatibility than any musical prejudice on George’s part. He had great respect for Lennon’s talent. How else do you account for his awesome contributions to “In My Life ,” ” Tomorrow Never Knows,” “I Am The Walrus,” and “Because”?

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