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.”