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By Posted on 0 , 7

A new book about Beatles producer George Martin explores the tensions surrounding the recording of the band’s classic track “Hey Jude,” which took place 50 years ago this month. Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin — The Later Years, 1966-2016 is Kenneth Womack’s second title about Martin; it will be published on Sept. 4.

In an excerpt provided to Variety, Womack detailed the events of late July and early August 1968. Martin recalled, “I thought that we had made [“Hey Jude”] too long. It was very much a Paul [McCartney] song, and I couldn’t understand what he was on about by just going round and round the same thing.”
He remained concerned about the track running to seven minutes and 11 seconds. “In fact,” Martin remembered, “after I timed it, I actually said ‘You can’t make a single that long,’ I was shouted down by the boys – not for the first time in my life – and John [Lennon] asked, ‘Why not?’ I couldn’t think of a good answer, really, except the pathetic one that disc jockeys wouldn’t play it.”
Lennon countered, “They will if it’s us.”
George Harrison remembered McCartney’s rejection of the suggestion that a guitar part should mimic the vocal melody, and noted it wasn’t a new situation. “Personally, I’d found that for the last couple of albums, the freedom to be able to play as a musician was being curtailed – mainly by Paul,” Harrison said later. “Paul had fixed an idea in his brain as to how to record one of his songs. He wasn’t open to anybody else’s suggestions.”

“Hey Jude” went on to sell over two million copies in its first month of release, holding the Billboard No. 1 position for nine weeks, making it not only the Beatles’ longest-topping single, but the longest-playing single to reach the top.




USA … H E R E.

UK …. H E R E.


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The ruins of George Martin’s Montserrat recording studio now crumble within the shadow of a volatile active volcano that’s been wreaking havoc on the island since the 1990s.

Dried mud and ash cake the buildings and murky rainwater fills the outdoor swimming pool. Wasp nests plug various nooks and hang from the ceiling as tangles of vegetation climb the walls. Forgotten bits of the recording equipment that used to produce so many albums rot inside.
The complex was once a hot spot for the musical greats of the 1980s. George Martin, the famous English record producer and musician and “fifth Beatle,” opened AIR Montserrat on the Caribbean island in 1979. It was a branch of Associated Independent Recording (AIR), the recording company he co-founded.






Martin’s island oasis studio was soon one of the most prolific recording studios of its era, cranking out a total of 76 albums. Musical legends like the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Buffett, Paul McCartney, and Michael Jackson recorded within its state-of-the-art walls. Musicians spent days or weeks creating their records at what was then a small sliver of Caribbean paradise.

But only a decade after the celebrated studio opened, its life soon came to an abrupt end. When Hurricane Hugo swept across Montserrat in 1989, the storm devastated much of the island and forced the studio to shutter. Then, only six years later, the Soufrière Hills volcano erupted, bombarding the land with lava flows and thick layers of ash. (Jimmy Buffett’s album Volcano, which he recorded in the studio, was named for the then-dormant volcano.) The ongoing volcanic eruptions have made nearly half of the island uninhabitable.

The decaying ruins of the studio stand near the fringe of the exclusion zone. Now too fragile to safely walk within, the studio bears little, if any at all, resemblance to its original grandeur.





AIR Studio is fenced-off and aggressively marked with no-trespassing signs. But thankfully, there are many alternatives to experiencing the impressive recording history of the island including :

1) viewing the studio from afar from the nearby volcano observatory

2) visiting the Hilltop Coffee House, a non-profit owned by long-time Montserrat residents that include informative displays on AIR Studio

3) visiting Olveston House, the former home of George Martin that’s now a hotel and restaurant that includes Beatles photographs.



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The second volume of the first full-length biography of George Martin, Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, The Later Years 1966-2016 by Kenneth Womack, is coming on Sept. 4. The book “takes readers behind the scenes and reveals Martin’s diligent efforts to consolidate the Beatles’ fame in the face of the sociocultural pressures of the time.”

Volume one, George Martin—The Early Years, 1926-1966 was published on Sept. 1, 2017. That book traced Martin’s working-class childhood in North London, his early years as a scratch pianist, his life in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II and his groundbreaking work as the head of Parlophone Records, when Martin saved the company from ruin after making his name as a producer of comedy recordings.The first volume took a close look at his unlikely discovery of the Beatles in 1962 through to the production of the landmark album Rubber Soul. Volume two, The Later Years, picks up where that story left off.

From the volume two announcement: “In 1966, the Beatles and George Martin stood at a creative crossroads. The bandmates had started to feel stunted in their musical growth, so they started engaging in brash experimentation both inside and outside the studio. With more recognition, the band began to feel like prisoners of their fame and grew frustrated by the culture’s inability to grasp the meaning behind their work.
“Martin worked with the band as they navigated the changing landscape of mid-1960s rock ’n’ roll. Martin’s work ethic and studio savviness earned him a long-lasting partnership with the Beatles that continued throughout the later years of his life.”

Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, The Later Years 1966-2016


#USA … H E R E.

#UK  …  H E R E.


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London’s AIR Studios, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious recording facilities, has been put up for sale by its owners. Initially founded by The Beatles’ producer Sir George Martin in 1969, the studio has been used by some of the biggest names in music with Paul McCartney, Adele, Coldplay, U2, Muse, George Michael, Kate Bush, Liam Gallagher, David Gilmour, Mumford & Sons, Scott Walker, The Jam and Katy Perry among the many artists to have recorded there.

The facility’s cavernous hexagonal shaped 300m squared live room big enough to house a full symphony orchestra and choir simultaneously — has also made AIR an in-demand booking for film composers and Hollywood studios. Film scores for Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Alien Covenant are among recent projects recorded at the state-of-the-art studio, based at Lyndhurst Hall, a Grade II listed converted church in Hampstead, North London, since 1991.

Prior to that, AIR — which stands for Associated Independent Recording — was located in central London. A sister studio in the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat was opened by George Martin in 1979. It would go on to play host to some of the biggest-selling acts of the 1980s with Dire Straits, The Police, Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton all cutting hit records at the facility. AIR Studios Montserrat was forced to close after much of the island was destroyed by a hurricane in 1989.

“The sale of AIR Studios is a significant moment in the history of the music industry,” announced co-owner Richard Boote, who acquired the London facility from Chrysalis Group and Pioneer in 2006. “Some of the most legendary soundtracks and records of the 20th and 21st century have been recorded at AIR and we know that there is still scope to expand and grow the business further,” said Boote in a statement.

As for who buys AIR, which includes an enviable collection of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment (including one of the world’s largest Neve 88R consoles), collectively said to be worth around £3 million ($4 million), co-owner Paul Woolf says they want someone who appreciates the heritage of the building and will carry on its legacy.

“It’s a very family cultured place,” he told Billboard. “We’re not corporate in how we run it and we’re very conscious of finding someone who buys into that and supports the staff. We’ve got probably the best tech team in the U.K., so we want them looked after and we want [the buyer] to take AIR onto the next step. To look at opportunities to develop and grow the place and treasure its history and heritage.”

In October 2017, the studio won a two-year legal battle to stop a neighbour from building a basement cinema, sauna, hot tub and swimming pool. AIR’s owners had feared that the noise and vibrations from the construction work would force the complex to close down. George Michael and Queen’s Brian May were among the signatories of an open letter opposing the plans, while more 13,000 people signed a petition in support of the historic studio.

Paul Woolf cites the “unbelievable” industry-wide response as one of his most abiding memories from his time at AIR. “That outpouring of support and love was so enormous it made me realize that I was involved in something very special,” he nostalgically reflects. “I honestly don’t think I’ll ever forget that. It will live with me for a long time.”


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Maximum Volume offers a glimpse into the mind, the music, and the man behind the sound of the Beatles. George Martin’s working-class childhood and musical influences
profoundly shaped his early career in the BBC’s Classical Music department and as head of the EMI Group’s Parlophone Records. Out of them flowed the genius behind his seven years producing the Beatles’ incredible body of work, including such albums as Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road.

The first book of two, Maximum Volume traces Martin’s early years as a scratch pianist, his life in the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War, and his groundbreaking work as the head of Parlophone Records, when Martin saved the company from ruin after making his name as a producer of comedy recordings. In its most dramatic moments, Maximum Volume narrates the story of Martin’s unlikely discovery of the Beatles and his painstaking efforts to prepare their newfangled sound for the British music marketplace. As the story unfolds, Martin and the band craft numerous number-one hits, progressing toward the landmark album Rubber Soul—all of which bear Martin’s unmistakable musical signature.


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“The Film Scores and Original Orchestral Music of George Martin” coming out November 10.

Double vinyl out in January.


Disc: 1

  1. Pepperland
  2. March of the Meanies
  3. Sea of Holes
  4. Sea of Monsters
  5. Pepperland Reprise
  6. Whisper Who Dares
  7. Bond Meets Solitaire
  8. Snakes Alive
  9. Baron Samedi’s Dance of Death
  10. Westward Look!
  11. Old Boston
  12. New York, New York
  13. Judy’s Theme
  14. Under Milk Wood (Main Theme)
  15. Love Duet
  16. Waldo’s Song
  17. Belle Étoile
  18. Waltz in D Minor for Flute and Chamber Orchestra
  19. Prelude for Strings
  20. Prelude
  21. Chorale 1
  22. Chorale 2
  23. Orchestral Interlude
  24. Chorale 3
  25. Chorale 4
  26. Orchestral Interlude 2
  27. Chorale 5
  28. Chorale 6
  29. Chorale 7