Sir George Martin CBE
George Martin, recognised as one of music's most versatile and imaginative talents, entered the music industry in 1950 after studying at the Guildhall School of Music and playing the oboe professionally in London. He began recording classical music specialising in the Baroque period. His later experience with jazz and pop led to his appointment as Head of the Parlophone label in the EMI Group in 1955.
As a producer he has been responsible for bringing a host of artists into recording studios particularly in the humorous field with brilliant performers such as Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Flanders and Swann and the 'Beyond the Fringe' team - Jonathan Miller, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett. He has also worked with jazz artists Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Humphrey Lyttelton and the legendary Stan Getz.
It was in 1962 that he signed The Beatles to EMI - a decision which launched them on their remarkable career, producing every record they made until they disbanded in 1970.
In 1965 George formed a production company with three other producers and four years later began the design and construction of Air Studios, a recording complex in the centre of London, which to this day is one of the most successful studio operations in the world.
In the mid 70's George started construction of Air Studios Montserrat, situated in the Caribbean, which attracted major artists from all over the world. Sadly, Hurricane Hugo devastated the island of Montserrat in 1989, and the studio had to close. In 1995 a volcano erupted on the island, causing more havoc and distress and George has been raising money to help the island regain its footing since.
From 1970 George devoted his time between working in the United States, Montserrat and England. He started his own music publishing company, George Martin Music, and recorded a whole range of diverse artists including The Mahavishnu Orchestra with the London Symphony Orchestra; seven albums with America; two albums with Jeff Beck - 'Blow by Blow' and 'Wired'; solo albums with Kenny Rogers; Gary Brooker (from Procol Harum); Neil Sedaka; Jimmy Webb; UFO; Cheap Trick and Ultravox. Back in England George recorded two albums with Paul McCartney - 'Tug of War' and 'Pipes of Peace'. He has produced a record breaking 30 number one singles in this country.
|Artist - Title||Date|
|1||The Temperance Seven - You're Driving Me Crazy||25/05/61|
|2||The Beatles - Please Please Me||17/01/63|
|3||Gerry And The Pacemakers - How do You do It?||11/04/63|
|4||The Beatles - From Me to You||02/05/63|
|5||Gerry And The Pacemakers - I Like It||20/06/63|
|6||Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas - Bad to Me||22/08/63|
|7||The Beatles - She Loves You||12/09/63|
|8||Gerry And The Pacemakers - You'll Never Walk Alone||31/10/63|
|9||The Beatles - I Want to Hold your Hand||12/12/63|
|10||Cilla Black - Anyone Who had a Heart||27/02/64|
|11||Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas - Little Children||19/03/64|
|12||The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love||02/04/64|
|13||Cilla Black - You're My World||28/05/64|
|14||The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night||23/07/64|
|15||The Beatles - I Feel Fine||10/12/64|
|16||The Beatles - Ticket to Ride||22/04/65|
|17||The Beatles - Help!||05/08/65|
|18||The Beatles - Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out||16/12/65|
|19||The Beatles - Paperback Writer||23/06/66|
|20||The Beatles - Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby||18/08/66|
|21||The Beatles - Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields||23/02/67|
|22||The Beatles - All You Need is Love||19/07/67|
|23||The Beatles - Hello Goodbye||06/12/67|
|24||The Beatles - Lady Madonna||27/03/68|
|25||The Beatles - Hey Jude||11/09/68|
|26||The Beatles with Billy Preston - Get Back||23/04/69|
|27||The Beatles - The Ballad of John and Ono||11/06/69|
|28||Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder - Ebony and Ivory||24/02/82|
|29||Paul McCartney - Pipes of Peace||14/01/84|
|30||Elton John - Candle in the Wind '97||20/08/97|
A composer in his own right, George has been responsible for the music of a considerable number of films, 'A Hard Day's Night' (for which he won an Academy Awards Nomination); 'The Family Way'; John Schlesinger's 'Honky Tonk Freeway'; 'Yellow Submarine'; 'Pulp' starring Michael Caine and Mickey Rooney; 'Optimist of Nine Elms' with Peter Sellers and the Bond movie 'Live and Let Die' (for which he won a Grammy). He was also Musical Director and Composer for 'Sgt. Pepper' starring the Bee Gees and 'Give My Regards to Broad Street' and the award winning cartoon 'Rupert and The Frog Song' for Paul McCartney. He also composed The David Frost Theme, 'By George' for television and BBC Radio One's signature tune 'Theme One'.
George has written three books. The first dealt with the early years of his life in the music business and was called 'All You Need is Ears'. The second, 'Making Music' looked at all the aspects of making music. The third and most recent book is 'Summer of Love (With A Little Help From My Friends)' which is all about the historic making of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'.
In 1988 George was appointed C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire) for his services to the music industry. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the world famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, U.S.A. along with the legendary Dizzy Gillespie. George is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy.
In 1989 George produced a new recording of Dylan Thomas' 'Under Milk Wood'. This spoken word recording starred Anthony Hopkins and Johnathan Pryce with a host of Welsh performers including Tom Jones and Catherine Zeta Jones. George wrote the music for the production along with Elton John, Rod Edwards and Andy Leek.
1991 heralded the beginning of a new Air Studios, built within the walls of a stunning Victorian church in Hampstead, London. George was heavily involved in the design and building of the new complex, which opened in March 1993 with Henry Mancini conducting the first series of recordings in the studio's main hall. Since then the studios have been catering for some of the world's biggest movies; the Oscar winning 'Emma', 'The English Patient', 'Gladiator' and 'Lord of the Rings' and recording artists; Dire Straits, Elton John, Oasis, Radiohead, Travis and Coldplay. Air Studios are synonymous for high quality output and for being at the leading edge of the world's audio and visual technologies.
In July 1992 he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Master of Arts at Salford University, England. He also produced and presented a television documentary on the making of The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper' album. The programme was selected as the British entry for the Italia Prize and also won a Palme d'Or at The Cannes Film Festival. December 1992 saw the culmination of months of preparation for a gala concert in aid of 'Under Milk Wood' for The Prince's Trust in the presence of H.R.H Prince Charles.
In April 1993 Peter Townshend's 'Tommy' opened in New York, going on to win five Tony Awards. George produced the cast album which won him his fifth Grammy in March 1994 after a gap of twenty years.
After conducting sell out symphony concerts in Sweden and Brazil, George produced an album entitled 'The Glory of Gershwin' with Larry Adler to celebrate Larry's 80th Birthday. The project featured many stars including Elton John, Sting, Oleta Adams, Carly Simon, Cher, Peter Gabriel, Sinead O'Conner, Elvis Costello, Lisa Stansfield, Meatloaf, Jon Bon Jovi and Chris De Burgh.
In May 1994 George was appointed sound producer and musical consultant for a cultural concert in association with UNESCO which took place in Nara City, Japan. Entitled 'The Great Music Experience' and televised around the globe. it featured Jon Bon Jovi, Bob Dylan, INXS, Joni Mitchell and Ry Cooder playing with the Tokyo New Philharmonic Orchestra.
Following that George produced the double album 'Beatles at the BBC' which became a huge world-wide success with sales in excess of 8 million. And then in 1995 he started work on 'The Beatles Anthology' a massive collection of out-takes and rarities before setting off for Sweden and Portugal for more symphonic concert dates. 1996 saw the completion of successful Beatles out-take trilogy with 'Anthology 3'.
In the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours, George was created a Knight Bachelor.
During 1997 George maintained his hectic schedule of productions and TV work. This included the "Music for Montserrat' concert at the Royal Albert Hall in September that assembled one of the greatest artist line-ups since Live Aid - Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Sting, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Midge Ure and Carl Perkins. He also produced Elton John's tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales which gave him his 30th number one hit single and still found time to present the three part BBC documentary 'The Rhythm of Life' all about music and its influence on people.
In a finale to a brilliant and unparalleled recording career, George completed his last ever studio recordings in 1998. The first project was his album 'In My Life' which featured mainly Beatles tracks performed by some of George's 'heroes and friends' - Robin Williams, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins, Celine Dion, Goldie Hawn, Jim Carrey and Sean Connery. Supported by a documentary about its making the album achieved Gold status in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The last project was for another old friend. Asked by EMI and Yoko Ono, George contributed to the John Lennon anthology with the well received arrangement of John's 'Grow Old With Me'.
1998 also saw George named as the B.P.I's (British Phonographic Industry) 'Man of the Year' and in 1999 he was inducted in to the American Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to music.
In 2001 EMI released the 6 CD boxed set 'Produced By' which, for the first time ever, pulled together some of George's greatest recordings from his 50 years in the studio. With sleeve notes by Mark Lewisohn, this collection of tracks and notes represents the definitive overview of one of the finest musical careers ever.
In late 2001 and early 2002 most of George's time was spent arranging the musical celebrations for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, which culminated in a hugely successful, globally telecast rock concert from the grounds of Buckingham Palace on June 3rd. The DVD release of the event, 'Party at the Palace' raised millions for charity.
After three years of production work the Beatles 'Love' show opened in Las Vegas in 2006. The Grammy-winning soundtrack, co-produced with his son Giles, is a unique blend of original masters manipulated to form a dynamic 90 minute soundscape. The show and resulting album have been huge critical and commercial successes.
Although George spends less time in the studio these days he is still working hard. He continues to write music; perform concerts; give motivational talks; work with charities; advise broadcasters and government on music content and help run his music publishing company George Martin Music.
In 2012, the acclaimed Grounded Productions/BBC Arena documentary on George's life, 'Produced by George Martin' was released on DVD. The film contains great archive footage and new interviews with many of the artists that George has worked with in his career.
In his career to date George has been awarded two Ivor Novellos, six Grammys and in 2008 was the recipient of the Grammy Foundation's Leadership Award.