George Martin, best known for signing and producing The Beatles, has passed away at 90. Ringo Starr has confirmed the news yesterday (March 8th) via Twitter.
God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family love Ringo and Barbara George will be missed xxx 😎✌️🌟💖☮
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) March 9, 2016
Often regarded as “the fifth Beatle,” Martin was head of A&R for EMI’s Parlophone Records in 1962 where he met the band after Decca Records had turned them down. Their audition at Abbey Road Studios was “rather unpromising” with Martin believing that their original songs “were simply not good enough.” However he was impressed with John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s vocals as well as their ability to effortlessly use comedic wordplay while joking around with one another. After meeting the group in person he decided to sign them to a contract solely for their wit and charisma.
Martin and The Beatles achieved success upon delivering their first single “Love Me Do,” reaching number one on the US Charts and remaining on the Top 100 for fourteen weeks. It was four of six songs written by The Beatles to hit number one within a year, setting an all time record.
Since that time Martin has produced and arranged the majority of The Beatles’ work, even providing arrangements for orchestral and string ensembles on songs like “Yesterday,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “A Day In The Life.” Additionally, he suggested the replacement of then-drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr after being unimpressed with Best’s playing. Martin also advised the group to speed up the tempo on their single “Please Please Me,” from a slow ballad to an upbeat pop song.
He has won countless awards, including six Grammys and an Academy Award nomination for his scoring on The Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night. Additionally he has produced other acclaimed artists such as Paul McCartney’s Wings, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson.