Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Sir George Martin, 1926-2016
My friend Peter Carlin on George Martin:
The world turns but it's still sad to hear of the death of Beatles' producer George Martin.
You cannot overstate his importance in the Beatles' career; they could never have achieved what they did, certainly not in the eerily perfect way they did it, without him.
Start with what he didn't do. He didn't pull out John or Paul to be the star (Paul McCartney and the Beatles, that was producer 101 in those days, make one a star, make the rest expendable). He didn't make them release "How Do You Do It" as their second single. He was right about the song's hit potential -- Gerry and the Pacemakers took it to #1 -- but the Beatles were righter about "Please Please Me," which became an even bigger hit. He didn't strong-arm John and Paul to write hits. He never resisted their need to evolve. The gap between "Love Me Do" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" was four years.
What he did do: whatever they could dream he would find a way to make it real. No synthesizers, no digital nothing, just analog tape and four tracks and galaxies of imagination. A chicken that turns into a guitar? No problem. An exploding hurdy-gurdy? Easily done. Backwards recording? the sound of a million monks chanting from a mountaintop? Oh we finished that before lunch.
Not bad for an oboist.