George Martin: 1926-2016, Legendary Beatles Producer

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George Martin, the legendary “Fifth Beatle” who produced all of the band’s albums except for Let It Be, died yesterday at the age of 90. His death was announced by Ringo Starr on Twitter before being confirmed by Universal Music Group:

Although Martin worked behind the scenes, he was instrumental to the Beatles’ success. He signed them to their first contract with EMI in 1962 and served as their producer and arranger for nearly their whole career as a group. Martin’s background in classical music filled in a crucial hole in the Beatles’ musical knowledge. It was his idea to arrange “Yesterday” for a string quartet, and he conducted the strings on “Eleanor Rigby” and the orchestra on “A Day in the Life,” among the countless other arrangements he contributed to the Beatles’ recording sessions. Martin also provided piano parts for many of the Beatles’ earlier records, including the iconic solo on “In My Life.”

Paul McCartney  penned a moving tribute to Martin on his website, describing the time he brought “Yesterday” into the studio as his favorite memory of his friend:

In addition to his work with the Beatles, Martin also worked with Peter Sellers on two popular comedy LPs in the 1950s and has produced for Kenny Rogers, Elton John, Cheap Trick, Gary Glitter, and Celine Dion, among countless others.

Martin is survived by his wife, Judy, and his four children.

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