Sir George Martin dies.

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Happybunny, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #1
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040

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    Amazing man, amazing long career and a true class act. RIP to one of my heroes.
     
  3. Mr. McMac Suspended

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    #3
    A sad day in rock, record producer Sir George Martin, known as the "fifth Beatle", has died at the age of 90.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Scepticalscribe, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #4

    Just spotted this news - was reading the obituaries on the Telegraph and the Guardian, and came here to start a thread if nobody else had already done so, and found that I have been beaten to it by @Happybunny.

    Anyway, very glad to see you dropping by, @Happybunny; welcome.

    Re George Martin, the man widely known as 'The Fifth Beatle' had earned the right to be described by this name; the surviving Beatles cheerfully used it - and meant it - in interviews conducted years and decades later, sometimes, even using it to his face.

    All of the Beatles held him in high esteem both professionally and personally, and respected him enormously. He signed them, mentored them, and helped them grow and develop as musicians and composers in directions that nobody could possibly have dreamed of in 1962.

    The musical journey of exploration and discovery he embarked upon with the Beatles transformed the range of popular music and his mentorship of the Beatles allowed for a fusion of forms of music that had hitherto been confined to watertight compartments, and allowed classical forms to stray into popular music while ensuring that popular musicians could comfortably experiment with challenging their boundaries and expanding their musical horizons and understanding of and knowledge of the wider musical world.

    Without George Martin's encouraging mentorship, I doubt that we would have ever seen the effervescent joy of exploration as the Beatles played with and experimented with music hall styles of music, or playground sounds, or classical forms, - all of which enrich the splendid 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' album - much of which is a work of timeless genius, not least that stunning last song 'A Day In The Life'.

    George Martin was a certain type of creative, modest but incredibly talented individual whose influence on the evolution of music - not least how it was presented and the science of how it was recorded - and on popular culture was extraordinary.

    And it wasn't just the Beatles (or Paul McCartney post Beatles - George Martin worked with McCartney on the Live And Let Die Album), it was also his work with the groups such as the Goons in the 50s, with Ultravox in the 80s….and so on, for example. This was a man whose career was marked by an eye for true talent, taste and originality, and for supporting and encouraging and mentoring the artists whose lives he touched and influenced.

    A genuine gentleman and someone who was both hugely liked and enormously respected within the industry. As @phrehdd above, rightly remarks, 'a class act'. Agreed.

    RIP Mr Martin - Sir George. You'll be missed, but not forgotten.
     
  5. rhett7660 macrumors G4

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    #5
    2016 has not been a good year for those in the music industry.

    RIP Mr. Martin.
     
  6. rdowns macrumors Penryn

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  7. Mr. McMac Suspended

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    #7
    This is what Paul McCartney said about George Martin's passing:


    "I’m so sad to hear the news of the passing of dear George Martin. I have so many wonderful memories of this great man that will be with me forever. He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family. If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George. 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.

    It’s hard to choose favourite memories of my time with George, there are so many but one that comes to mind was the time I brought the song 'Yesterday’ to a recording session and the guys in the band suggested that I sang it solo and accompany myself on guitar. After I had done this George Martin said to me, "Paul I have an idea of putting a string quartet on the record". I said, “Oh no George, we are a rock and roll band and I don’t think it’s a good idea”. With the gentle bedside manner of a great producer he said to me, "Let us try it and if it doesn’t work we won’t use it and we’ll go with your solo version". I agreed to this and went round to his house the next day to work on the arrangement.

    He took my chords that I showed him and spread the notes out across the piano, putting the cello in the low octave and the first violin in a high octave and gave me my first lesson in how strings were voiced for a quartet. When we recorded the string quartet at Abbey Road, it was so thrilling to know his idea was so correct that I went round telling people about it for weeks. His idea obviously worked because the song subsequently became one of the most recorded songs ever with versions by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and thousands more.

    This is just one of the many memories I have of George who went on to help me with arrangements on 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Live and Let Die' and many other songs of mine.

    I am proud to have known such a fine gentleman with such a keen sense of humour, who had the ability to poke fun at himself. Even when he was Knighted by the Queen there was never the slightest trace of snobbery about him.

    My family and I, to whom he was a dear friend, will miss him greatly and send our love to his wife Judy and their kids Giles and Lucy, and the grandkids.

    The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music.

    God bless you George and all who sail in you!

    Paul"
     
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #8
    Great quote; I saw it cited in the Guardian earlier, and thanks for posting it.
     
  9. Mr. McMac Suspended

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    To be honest, I'm broken up over George's death. He did so much the Beatles which in turn did so much for me. I'm not that great at expressing myself in text, but The Beatles were everything to me growing up. I was 12 when I first heard I Want To Hold Your Hand in 1964. It was like yesterday to me. I remember where I was and what I was doing at the time. What's sad is I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. Yes, I'm really sad right now :(
     
  10. vrDrew, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016

    vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Calling George Martin "the fifth Beatle" actually does them all a bit of a disservice.

    I do think its fair to say that the Beatles would have been just another British pop band without Martin's influence and skill. Martin, coming from an extensive background in classical and jazz music and recording, brought absolutely the right combination of technical skills, and an ear for commercially popular music to the Beatles at a critical moment in their career.

    On the other hand, Martin had worked with a great many other British pop artists, none of whom matched the Beatles in popular or musical imagination.

    Martin created what we today think of as the role of the pop music producer. And he pioneered many of the sound recording, editing, and mixing techniques artists today take for granted.

    Probably his most famous was his "splice" at the one-minute mark of Strawberry Fields Forever.

    Thus song grew out of many different takes, done over many days, and evolved into basically two versions: One, slower tempo (90 bpm) intro in B-flat major; and a second, more up-tempo (108 bpm) in C-Major. John Lennon liked them both - and casually suggested to Martin he just "splice them together." In the pre-digital days, that was a lot easier said than done. If you increased the tape speed, inevitably it would affect the pitch, and vice versa. However Martin figured out that by using EMI's tape machines with very precise varispeed motor controls, he could gradually increase the speed of the slower track to exactly match both tempo and Key at the exact 1:00 minute mark.

    To hear what that would sound like without Martin's musical magic - listen to this short clip.
     
  11. HobeSoundDarryl, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

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    #11
    Those that really know their Beatles history knows that their manager had been offering them to everyone... only to be rejected by label after label. Look up the famous Decca Studio harsh rejection of the Beatles- "Guitar groups are on their way out"- to get a sense of what they were dealing with: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles'_Decca_audition By this point they had already been together for YEARS. They were not making much money. They felt trapped in a loop of low-paying gigs requiring very hard work and were losing hope of it becoming anything more. The whole experience was becoming mundane. They desperately needed a "next step" as they were all under various pressures to give up the whole idea of it and get good, dependable jobs. One of them was facing the weight of fatherhood against this backdrop.

    The Beatles are known for recording on EMI but even EMI didn't want them then. Their chances of being signed were thinning out, rejections were consistently harsh and they finally got an audition with a fledgling EMI subsidiary known for comedy albums, some classical music & novelty recordings- a far cry for any mainstream label recording rock or pop music.

    It was this guy- George Martin- who chose to sign them to that label- Parlophone- when pretty much nobody else wanted them. Even he wasn't that impressed with their music at the time, famously quoted that they sounded "rather unpromising" but he liked what he heard enough to give them a chance, faux signing them more on their manager's enthusiasm before he'd even met them or seen them play in person. That was faux because he didn't sign the contract himself until later when he did get to conduct an in-person audition with them. The session did not go that well but he was won over more on their wit & charm instead of their musical prowess at the time.

    Now think about that... how easy might it have been for him to do what pretty much the rest had already done- rejected them on the merits that the music wasn't that great (yet). Parlophone did not have budget to burn; it was regularly on the chopping block as a business unit itself. How many more rejections would it have taken for any one of the Beatles to give up and get respectable, dependable jobs? If there are parallel universes, there's going to be a bunch of them where that's exactly what happens and they have no Beatles at all. But George is the one who gave them a chance in OUR universe.

    Their original version of Please Please Me was a slow ballad instead of the version we know today. George was the one who pressed them to speed it up or else record a faster song that he considered a more likely pop hit called "How Do You Do It?" written by someone else. That influence- that soft pressure and their own ambitions- made Lennon & McCartney work one of their overnight miracles to turn a slow ballad into their first original #1 uptempo hit, spurring on many other hook-loaded pop & rock hits to follow. George drove that.

    If you read up on their recording sessions, you would learn just how much this man contributed to the end result. They would often bring in ideas & imagination and George would figure out how to turn concepts- sometimes wild, crazy concepts- into actual recorded music. He collaborated with them. He played instruments on some of their recordings. He arranged music when their ideas got ahead of what they could arrange themselves. His role was HUGE all throughout their careers and it's heard in pretty much every song you know by them and many other popular artists.

    Anyone who is a true Beatles fan should feel like this is losing any one of the four members of the group. Based on what I've read about his contributions, he was very much the fifth Beatle who, by choosing to give them a chance when nobody else wanted them, might have played the most crucial role to there being a Beatles in our own history.

    So I say: Thanks George. I enjoy your contributions to music pretty much every day or week. I can't shuffle play my favorites folder for more than maybe an hour without hearing something that you helped bring out in a polished, classic form. Talent like yours will be missed... always... but thanks for leaving so much of your excellent work behind for all future generation to discover and enjoy for many decades to come. We should all wish that our own work could have a comparable legacy and broad, positive impact like that.
     
  12. JamesMike macrumors demi-god

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  13. Scepticalscribe, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    #13
    One of the earlier examples of how his playing (not his mentoring, or his guidance, or suggestions, but his mastery of music, his playing) transformed a Beatles song (for the better) can be found on the song 'In My Life' (on the Rubber Soul album). George Martin played an exquisite Baroque keyboard solo - all of twenty seconds long - on this song and it transformed the song into something memorable, at a time when hardly anybody listening would have known what Baroque music was, or that George Martin had used it to elevate a lovely pop song into something unforgettable.
     
  14. Goatllama macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Another great man gone. I'm honestly still reeling from Glenn Frey. In any case, I suggest checking out Martin's album 'In My Life,' it's a fun one.
    Definitely! When I first read that that was a sped-up piano and not a harpsichord I was really astounded. I wouldn't say that it makes the song, as the lyrics are quite beautiful all on their own, but it certainly elevates it.
     
  15. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

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    #15
    Look up the story of the 2 parts of Strawberry Fields that yielded the end result we know. Look up the story of how they got the swirling effects in "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite". Look up the story of how they got the sound Lennon wanted in Tomorrow Never Knows. And on and on. Yesterday (Paul did NOT want a string quartet backing until George talked him into just giving it a try). Eleanor Rigby has no Beatles playing any instruments on it at all- guess where all that instrumentation and arrangement came from in that classic? I am the Walrus. And on and on.

    His influence runs through ALL of it... and beyond. When Princess Diana passed, Elton John took an existing song and reworked the lyrics. Guess who produced the amazing version of that song?

    Crank up some classic rock by America. Guess who produced many of their hits?

    Beatles success begat a bunch of quickly-signed British copycat artists that helped usher in the British (not just the Beatles) Invasion. Guess who produced a bunch of popular hits by these other British groups? Is there a British Invasion without George Martin?

    And if you ever make it to Vegas and haven't gone to the Cirque show Love, go see it and LISTEN. That mashup of Beatles music is by him and his son. Even if you've heard the CD or the DVD, it seems to sound even better at the show where you can hear "new" Beatles music made from old Beatles music, bits & pieces. Who else could have done that as well?

    The guy KNEW how to do what he did better than just about anybody knows how to do that. A word like genius gets slung around pretty easily these days but it likely is accurate to apply here IMO, supported every time a new set of ears hears something he helped forge (years or even decades ago) and goes "who's that?" leading to "where can I get more of that?"

    Make no mistake. This is a big, BIG loss. It means there will NOT be any more music produced by George Martin. The "schoolmaster" has closed the school... his classes are permanently dismissed. Only the record(s) of what he got to touch carry on, illustrating a rare talent.
     
  16. Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    #16
    According to one account I came across, the 'other' George Martin, - George R. R. Martin - felt obliged to issue a statement - to reassure some troubled fans of the GoT franchise - stressing that his death had not, in fact, occurred and that he is still very much in the land of the living.
     
  17. Denmac1 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    We are at a crossroads of time. I remember when I first got the Sgt Pepper's album when I was in high school. Before 'piracy' was even thought of, there was a shop where they would put your album onto a four track tape. I had installed a Muntz 4 track player in my 65 Mustang and from there on, it was good.

    As far as Hobo said, Yes, the Cirque show in Vegas is just outstanding. I don't like paying the big $$$'s for Vegas shows, but this was worth every penny. When I first listened to the CD, I was blown away at the interpretation that George & Giles had conceived. Seeing the show just put me over the edge.

    For us that grew up in those days, we are losing our youth through losing these great people. My Beatle's collection is still one of my favorites to listen to. Bowie, Frey, and now Emerson saddens me.

    RIP George. It was great having you here for this time on Earth to be part of, what I feel IMO, was one of the great music era's that still resonates today.

    For all, enjoy life today, we never know what tomorrow will bring.
     

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