George Henry Martin, CBE (3 January 1926 – 8 March 2016) was an English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer, and musician. He was referred to as the “Fifth Beatle” in reference to his extensive involvement on each of the Beatles’ original albums.Paul McCartney said upon Martin’s death, “If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle, it was George”.
Martin was born January 3, 1926, in Highbury, London. When Martin was six, his family acquired a piano that sparked his interest in music. At eight years of age, Martin persuaded his parents, Henry and Betha Beatrice (nėe Simpson) Martin,that he should take piano lessons, but those ended after only eight lessons because of a disagreement between his mother and the teacher.
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, as head of artists and repertoire, 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. Martin’s career spanned more than six decades of work in music, film, television and live performance. Before working with the Beatles and other pop musicians, he produced comedy and novelty records in the early 1950s, working with Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Bernard Cribbins, among others. In his career he produced 30 number-one hit singles in the United Kingdom and 23 number-one hits in the United States.
Martin was contacted by Sid Coleman of Ardmore & Beechwood, who told him about Brian Epstein, the manager of a band whom he had met. He thought Martin might be interested in the group, even though they had been turned down by Decca Records. Until that time, although he had had considerable success with the comedy records, and a number 1 hit with the Temperance Seven, Martin had only minor success with pop music, such as “Who Could Be Bluer” by Jerry Lordan, and singles with Shane Fenton and Matt Monro. After the telephone call by Coleman, Martin arranged a meeting on 13 February 1962 with Brian Epstein. Martin listened to a tape recorded at Decca, and liked the sound of Lennon’s and McCartney’s vocals.
Martin’s work as an arranger was used for many Beatles recordings.
He contributed integral parts to other Beatle songs ,he produced recordings for many other artists, including contemporaries of the Beatles and also held a number of senior executive roles at media companies and contributed to a wide range of charitable causes, including his work for The Prince’s Trust and the Caribbean island of Montserrat.
In recognition of his services to the music industry and popular culture, he was made a Knight Bachelor in 1996.
George Martin died in his sleep on the night of 8 March 2016 at his home in Wiltshire, England, at the age of 90.
His death was announced by Ringo Starr on his Twitter account.
A spokesperson for the Universal Music Group confirmed his death.The cause of his death was not disclosed. He is survived by his wife of nearly fifty years, Judy Lockhart Smith, and his four children.