Sir George Henry Martin CBE was born in Highbury, London (UK) on 3 January 1926. Following his graduation, he worked for the BBC’s classical music department, then joined EMI in 1950 as an assistant to Oscar Preuss, the head of EMI’s Parlophone Records from 1950 to 1955. Although having been regarded by EMI as a vital German imprint in the past, it was then not taken seriously and only used for EMI’s insignificant acts. After taking over Parlophone when Preuss retired in 1955, Martin recorded classical and Baroque music, original cast recordings, and regional music from around Britain and Ireland. Martin also produced numerous comedy and novelty records, including two comedy LP’s with Peter Sellers.
In 1962 George Martin met Brian Epstein and agreed to work with a band called the Beatles. He listened to a tape recorded at Decca, and thought that Epstein’s group was “rather unpromising”, but liked the sound of Lennon’s and McCartney’s vocals. As it turned out, George Martin became “the fifth Beatle”, producing all of the band’s original albums.
Martin produced recordings for many other artists, such as Matt Monro, Cilla Black, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, The King’s Singers, the band America, guitarists Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin and John Williams, sixties duo Edwards Hand, Gary Brooker, Neil Sedaka, Ultravox, country singer Kenny Rogers, UFO, Cheap Trick, Elton John, Little River Band and Celine Dion. Martin also directly and indirectly contributed to the main themes of three films in the James Bond series.
Within the recording industry, Martin was known for having become independent at a time when many producers were still salaried. By 1965, the Beatles’ success had given Martin the leverage to start Associated Independent Recording (AIR), which enabled him to hire out his services to other artists. AIR demonstrated how important Martin’s talents were to his artists, and it allowed him a share in record royalties on his hits. To this day, AIR London Studios remains one of the world’s pre-eminent recording studios.
Martin died in his sleep on the night of 8 March 2016 at his home in Wiltshire, England, at the age of 90.
- George Martin. Wikipedia, retrieved 20 September 2017.