George Martin RIP


News headlines are announcing that the record producer has died. He’s associated most obviously with the Beatles but prior to that he worked with many of EMI’s pop, ‘trad’ and comedy acts. I guess my favourite productions are the early Beatles’ experimental tracks like “Tomorrow Never Knows” or “Strawberry Fields”.


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

17 thoughts on “George Martin RIP

  1. R I P George Martin (the 5th Beatle) ,gifted musician , record producer and the man who said yes when Decca said no !! Also of note of course , Mr Martin produced “Land of 1000 dances ” / “In my lonely room” for The Action back in 1965

  2. I never thought he was that great as a producer – he had some good ideas such as adding strings to ‘Eleanor Rigby’ , cutting up bits of calliope music for ‘Mr Kite’ and including pieces by Mozart. However, if you listen to any Martin-produced Beatles recordings one after another (on one of the Beatles Radio Stations, for instance) they all sound pretty much the same – tinny background harmonies fronted by either John or Paul, neither of whom were great singers, and a guitar solo tossed in by George, who certainly wasn’t a great guitarist, and then there was Ringo…..
    For me, The Stones’ music has much more variety and relevance to the times. They were not afraid to use many different great producers such as Jimmy Miller, Don Was and record at Muscle Shoals studios – no ‘Abbey Road with everything’ for them.

    • ‘Average producer, average singers, tinny harmonies, average guitarist, poor drummer, narrow and irrelevant music’. Amazing they did so well for themselves really!

      Here’s a ‘one after another’ list that George Martin produced – ‘Drive My Car’; ‘Lady Madonna’; ‘Something’; ‘Day Tripper’; ‘Magical Mystery Tour’; ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’; ‘Revolution’; ‘Strawberry Fields’; ‘Eleanor Rigby’; ‘She’s A Woman’; ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’; ‘The End’.

      Good and varied work by George and the Beatles, (in my opinion).

      Out of interest, I read that Don Was produced five tracks on an album for Ringo Starr, (Time Takes Time), in 1991, three years before he worked with the Stones! It’s a funny old world. (Other producers on that album were Phil Ramone, Jeff Lynne and Peter Asher – an interesting combination).

  3. It would be interesting to hear about people’s favourite producers. I loved the Spector sound on the Ronettes and others, the Chess brothers in Chicago and Berry Gordy etc at Motown. Joe Meek was imaginative but most of the songs he worked on were terrible. I have a fairly personal fondness for Sam Charters work with Country Joe & the Fish although not sure how much it was him.


    • I like the work of Tony Visconti. I first noticed his name on albums I bought by The Strawbs, Gentle Giant, Thin Lizzy, Osibisa and Sparks. Later on I bought albums by The Stranglers and The Manic Street Preachers that he’d worked on. He seemed able to produce a wide range of musical genres. A lot of the early ones have that folky lilt.

      I wasn’t especially a fan of T-Rex or David Bowie, but he did a lot with them as well. I remember reading that Visconti offered advice to Dave Cousins of the Strawbs on the lyric writing style he’d seen with David Bowie and Marc Bolan.

      Another producer I found I rather liked was Mutt Lange. First his work with Graham Parker, and The Motors, and later with AC/DC. I was interested to see he moved on to work in country and pop music, working with Shania Twain and the Corrs, (both of which I quite like), before going back to rock.

      As to Phil Spector, I like the sounds he got on a lot of those 60s tunes, played on my old record player. However, when I got a better stereo system, listening to later stuff like George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’, I thought his production rather suffocated some of the songs.

      It interests me how bands I like quite often used the same producers, and to read the extent of the influence producers have on artists and recordings. Not always positive of course. I guess the proof of the pudding is in how often you return to listen to the records.

  4. I forgot the wonderful Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Then there is the strange case of the very interesting Brian Eno who has managed to work with some horrible bands

  5. Not forgetting Lang Lang’s interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude No 2 Opus 3, now we’re really talking !!
    What am I saying, everyone knew that anyway….silly me !!!

  6. It was on the tip of my tongue Rod Rod – cheers, Dave Dave

  7. oh dear !!!
    I used to say everything twice ONCE……

  8. That was recorded by Trini Lopez wasn’t it Phil ?……wait for it…..”If I Had A Stammer” or perhaps as our bodies start to deteriorate with age……”If I Had a Stannah ” !!

  9. don’t know about ‘Trini’ , but Led Zep did something about “A stairlift to heaven”……………….Enough of this banter I think…

  10. Speaking of Age…. The wife and I went to a Moody Blues Concert last night. AKA the geriatrics ball. The capacity audience actually stopped the show as we all sang Happy Birthday to the drummer who was turning 75. Actually the band was great as always and put on a really good show.

  11. ‘Stannah’ have started manufacturing high-speed stairlifts – so, by the time you get upstairs, you haven’t forgotten what you were going up there for in the first place.

  12. Sorry Pete , shouldn’t that be aaaaaaaagggggghhhhh or is that the American spelling ???

  13. Well bugger me its time for new glasses sorry bout that. Put it down to…hang on a minute …I forgot whatI was about to type.. Too busy yawning after staying up past my bedtime on Wednesday.

  14. I like Daniel Lanois, even if he became so often imitated that his style started to sound like parody. He also chummed around with Eno from time to time. Robbie Robertson’s first solo album is a fine example of his approach, I would say.

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