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Omega Auction’s forthcoming sale of the framed score, which is in Martin’s handwriting and is signed by Sir Paul McCartney, was initially billed by Warrington-based Omega Auctions as ‘the original’ version of the music sheet. The lot description has now been amended to ‘an original … one of only two known originals’ after a complaint by one of Martin’s four children that she possessed the original score.

Martin’s daughter Alexis Stratford read media coverage of the impending sale and instructed a lawyer to contact Omega Auctions to say she possessed the original, having been given it by her father 30 years ago.“[My father] knew it was of great historical value and even pointed out the coffee stains from John Lennon,” Stratford told.

‘Two known originals’

Omega Auctions stands by the authenticity of its lot. Karen Fairweather, director of Omega Auctions, told ATG: “We have had no row [with George Martin’s daughter]. Her score is an original and ours is an original, end of story. Our catalogue description states that the score we are selling is one of two known original scores. Fairweather added: “It’s a fantastic, historical piece and we are looking forward to selling it.”

The scores were prepared for the song’s recording, which included a string octet conducted by Martin, at Abbey Road studios in April 1966. The version owned by Stratford is an eight-page manuscript in pencil, whereas that being sold by Omega Auctions is four pages long, also containing musical notation for the string instrument parts and lyrics. Omega Auctions says the score consigned to its Warrington saleroom was one “most likely written out for the instrumentalists”.

George Martin provenance

According to the catalogue entry on, the score “was gifted to a gentleman who was well known in the music industry and was both a friend and business associate of George Martin. The signatures of George Martin and Paul McCartney are believed to have been added at a later date (circa late 1980s), most likely shortly before this was framed and gifted”. Stratford’s score, also mounted in a frame, is said to be worth £75,000 but is not for sale. The Omega Auctions lot, numbered 250 among other lots of Beatles memorabilia, also includes the deeds to the Liverpool grave of the real Eleanor Rigby, the song’s inspiration.

Ahead of the live auction on September 11-12, the most recent bid for the Omega Auctions lot on was £12,000 against an estimate of £15,000-25,000.


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It’s doubtful any record producer in music history had a better year than George Martin did in 1963. His Beatles dominated the charts, boasting a No. 1 song for 37 out of the 52 weeks. Yet when December rolled around and his bosses at EMI Records handed out Christmas bonuses, Martin got nothing. They deemed his salary (roughly the U.S. equivalent of $4,000 per year) already was high enough.
“It was just a God-awful corporate miscalculation,” said Monmouth University dean Kenneth Womack, a leading scholarly authority on the Fab Four. “But of course this is what the Beatles were blowing up — they were disrupting an industry.”

Womack chronicles Martin’s central role in that disruption in his latest book, “Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin.” Remarkably it’s the first biography of Martin, who perhaps scared off would-be writers by publishing multiple autobiographies. The 351-page book is set to drop Sept. 1 by Chicago Review Press. It covers Martin’s life through 1966; a second volume is in the works.

“George Martin was the first audience for The Beatles,” said Womack, who is dean of Monmouth’s Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences. “To me, that’s so fascinating. He was the first person beyond Lennon and McCartney who would hear all these great songs debut. I wanted to tell the story of what that experience must have been like.” Using his own interviews (including input from Martin’s eldest son Gregory) and secondary source material, Womack goes deep on the producer’s contributions to the Beatles’ music and image. There is Martin, forcing them to speed up “Please Please Me” before pronouncing, “Gentlemen, you have just made your first No. 1 record.” And there he is later, keeping the train on the tracks after the master recording of Rubber Soul was dropped at the record plant and shattered into a million pieces.

He was an odd fit to marshal this quartet of young iconoclasts — a Royal Navy veteran trained in classical music who made his bones as a producer of comedy records. But Martin made it work and changed music in the process: He let the Beatles write their own songs, he played some backup instruments and he helped them navigate life on the road. All of it broke the mold. “At that time artists and producers had very particular roles and they were supposed to carry them out,” Womack said. “This was a paradigm-shifting moment.”

Womack will be signing copies of “Maximum Volume” Friday at the Eatontown Barnes & Noble from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday at the Lakewood BlueClaws game (starting at 5 p.m.). “Maximum Volume” also is available via … H E R E .


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Asked by “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross why it is that John Lennon has been said not to have cared for the sound of his own voice, Giles Martin, son of legendary Beatles producer George Martin, responded to the public-radio interviewer that the issue ran deeper than that:
‘Well, I don’t think it was just his voice. He didn’t like, you know, my father always told me that the sounds that John had in his head were never the sounds that got on record.That’s the thing is, you know – and to demand them to make changes. You know, he was just a natural, beautiful singer.

Giles Martin oversaw, including production and remixing, a 50th-anniversary four-disc “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” box set, released last month.
About the original “Strawberry Fields” Giles said: “Of course, they had to slow it down. And that gives you a more sort of a demonic edge, you know, your slowed down voice. And so what you hear is John slowed down. In fact, on this album, there’s very few occurrences of a natural voice.
They played around with tempos, you know, on “When I’m Sixty-Four,” Paul’s voice is sped up, you know, and same with “Lovely Rita,” you know, they – “Penny Lane” his voice is sped up. And on “Strawberry Fields,” John’s is slowed down.

It’s – they’re all over the shop just trying to change things. But you’re right, on the demo or on the first take of “Strawberry Fields,” you hear the song for what it is which is an incredibly complex but beautiful personal sort of diary to his time in Liverpool.
Giles has worked on several other recent Beatles projects, including the Beatles soundscape for the Cirque du Soleil production “Love,” the audio restoration of Beatles concerts for Ron Howard’s documentary “Eight Days A Week,” and the Beatles “Rock Band” video game. Giles was the executive producer of Paul McCartney’s 2013 album “New.”