George Martin, the urbane English record producer who signed the Beatles to a recording contract on the small Parlophone label after every other British record company had turned them down, and who guided them in their transformation from a regional dance band into the most inventive, influential and studio-savvy rock group of the 1960s, died on Tuesday. He was 90.
“We can confirm that Sir George Martin passed away peacefully at home yesterday evening,” Adam Sharp, a founder of CA Management, a British company that represented Mr. Martin, said on Wednesday in an email. Mr. Sharp did not say how Mr. Martin had died.
“God bless George Martin,” Ringo Starr, the former Beatle, wrote on Twitter.
Mr. Martin helped redefine a record producer’s role in pop music. He was one of a handful of pop producers — Phil Spector and Quincy Jones among them — to become almost as famous as the musicians they recorded. And when he left Parlophone, a subsidiary of EMI Records, to start his own production company in 1965, his reputation as the producer of the Beatles helped raise the stature of record production as an independent career, rather than a record label function.
Man, what a career!
As a tribute, from Rubber Soul, here’s “In My Life”. Martin contributed the instrumental bridge.
I’m going up to Athens today to catch Dwight Yoakam at the Georgia Theater.
As long as I’ve followed him, this’ll be the first time I’ve caught him live. There’s a ton of stuff I hope he’ll play tonight – really, more than there’s time for, I suspect – and this is one I definitely want to hear:
If there’s a song that instantly takes me back to my senior year in high school, it’s this one:
Nice hair, mate.
In my very humble opinion, “Madame Onassis got nothin’ on you” remains one of rock music’s greatest compliments ever.
I used to drive around all the time then with this song on the radio and remember arguing with a girl who hated the song because of what she referred to as Kenney Jones’ bashing. I don’t think she appreciated my response of that being a feature, not a bug.
Anyway, I dare you to watch that clip without smiling.
I don’t know about you, but this article has permanently warped my mental picture of Chief Justice Roberts. Or Bob Dylan. Or both.
In any event, let’s celebrate the occasion with rock music’s greatest opening track. Evah.
Really, it’s no contest.
For your morning enjoyment, here’s Doug Sahm, with his nineties group The Texas Tornados, doing his flower power ode to jail bait, “Mendocino”.
The man could spin a groove with the best of them.
Just call him Sir Ivan Morrison now.
VAN Morrison described himself as just a “blue-eyed soul singer” from Belfast as he was knighted for a musical career that has enthralled audiences and delighted critics.
Over more than 50 years the singer has gone from teenage stardom to innovator and is now a respected veteran, whose classic album Astral Weeks regularly makes the list of top 100 albums of all time.
The artist, whose full name is George Ivan Morrison, was introduced as Sir Ivan Morrison as he stepped forward to be dubbed a knight by the Prince of Wales in Buckingham Palace’s ballroom.
Afterwards he said about becoming a Sir: “It’s amazing, it’s very exhilarating, the whole thing.
“For 53 years I’ve been in the business – that’s not bad for a blue-eyed soul singer from east Belfast.”
Helluva career, Sir.
In your honor, let’s hear something you did when you were slightly younger – from American Bandstand, here’s “Brown Eyed Girl”.
I dare you to watch that without singing along. It simply isn’t possible.
Inspired by the Oxford American Georgia music edition I posted about recently, I thought it was time to correct an oversight here at the blog.
And here he is, from a performance the day before he died, with “Try A Little Tenderness”:
Soul, baby. What else needs to be said?