The music industry has experienced what seems like an unprecedented string of losses since the year began. Add to that list, a legend in Sir George Martin who passed a few days ago at the age of 90, and was considered by many to be “The Fifth Beatle”. Sir George was perhaps among the most talented record producers, music arrangers, and A&R men of all time. He was a true master at his craft — he pioneered all mann
er of unique things artists could do in the studio — and truly co-created with the artists he worked with to amazing results.Unusual things like running the tape backwards to create new sounds as in “Tomorrow Never Knows” or adding in unique instrumentation like strings over “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yesterday” or weaving a mellotron into “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”. And as gifted as he was and a master at his art, equally important is how well-loved and respected he was by all who had the chance to meet and work with him. I’ve never heard a bad word said about George by anyone throughout his career which is telling; quite the contrary.Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have both posted elegant tributes to Sir George online — and a lot has been shared biographically as well so I won’t make this too lengthy; you can look all of that up if you’re interested.
What I do want to share is the impact Sir George had on me personally and my career path— which I was fortunate to have the chance to convey and thank him for on several occasions
when we met at industry events. When I was eight years old, I saw some special on the Beatles on TV — and noticed Sir George in the studio behind them; to the shock of my parents I said “I don’t know what that man is doing, but that’s what I want to be when I grow up”. While others decided to become musicians when they saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, I decided (and was determined) to study and become a record producer — and was quite serious about it, all because of what I heard and witnessed in Sir George co-creating the magic and coaxing the brilliance out of the artists he worked with. Ultimately I wasn’t empowered to take that career path because of my gender, and wound up weaving that producer passion throughout my career in other ways over the years. But I can honestly say Sir George was among the most influential people in my world — was and always will be.
I extend my heartfelt condolences to Sir George’s son Giles —and the rest of their family; he leaves a huge legacy and will be sorely missed.