Sir George Henry Martin CBE (3 January 1926 – 8 March 2016) was an English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician. He has been referred to as the "Fifth Beatle", including by Paul McCartney, in reference to his extensive involvement on each of the Beatles' original albums. Martin had 30 number-one hit singles in the United Kingdom and 23 number-one hits in the United States.

He attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1947 to 1950, studying piano and oboe. Following his graduation, he worked for the BBC's classical music department, then joined EMI in 1950. Martin produced comedy and novelty records in the early 1950s, working with Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Bernard Cribbins among others. Martin's career spanned more than six decades of work in music, film, television and live performance. He 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. (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

George Martin joined Parlophone Records in 1955 and worked as a producer of classical music and comedy records, before becoming label manager and transforming Parlophone from one of EMI's minor labels to one which regularly made hit records, including many which Martin produced himself. Peel would have heard records produced by Martin while he was growing up in the 1950s, but these were in a diverse range of styles, from jazz and novelty records to the pop of the pre-rock'n'roll era, so not everything on Parlophone would be to his taste. Nevertheless, favourites of Peel's youth such as Humphrey Lyttelton, The Goons and The Vipers Skiffle Group were all produced by George Martin for Parlophone at this time. During the 1960s, Martin's main discovery was, of course, the Beatles, whose work the DJ greatly admired at the time, but he also liked the other Merseybeat artists (Gerry And The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas and Cilla Black) who made chart-topping singles, produced by Martin, in the mid-1960s. On Radio London, Peel made the Martin-produced single by The Action, "Shadows and Reflections", his climber of the week beginning 18 June 1967 [1] although it failed to make the national charts. (The Action evolved into Mighty Baby, who recorded sessions for Top Gear.)

Martin continued to produce comedy and novelty artists of various kinds, after obtaining chart-topping hits at the start of the 1960s with the Temperance Seven. They can be seen as a predecessor of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, who recorded their first two singles for Parloohone in 1966. Martin also produced the first single by the Scaffold, "2 Day's Monday", in that year, and in 1967 produced Ivor Cutler's LP Ludo, after Cutler had appeared in the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour film. Artists like these, alongside Martin's own gentlemanly demeanour, contributed to the air of English eccentricity which seemed to characterise EMI and Parlophone at this time, with engineers dressed in white lab coats and having to make creative use of studio equipment which their American contemporaries would consider old fashioned. Because of his association with the Beatles, he was commissioned in 1967 by the BBC to compose a theme tune for the new Radio One, "Theme One"; This was used as a station identifier when Radio One came on the air each morning. Later, when the Sounds Of The Seventies programmes were moved to the 10.p.m to midnight time slot, the theme was played at the start of each show to indicate that Radio One had resumed broadcasting, after several hours of sharing its wavelength with Radio Two. (For example, it can be heard at the start of the 10 March 1972 Peel show.)

George Martin eventually set himself up as an independent producer and built his own recording studios. He became a much in-demand producer after the Fab Four split up, but not many of his post -1970 productions attracted Peel's attention - of these, only LPs by Jeff Beck and Sounds Of The Seventies favourites Stackridge feature in Peel's playlists. George Martin was a pioneer of the sophisticated, multi-layered productions which became the norm in mainstream pop during the 1970s and '80s. Although this brought him further accolades and more best-selling records, the eccentricities of his earlier, more basic productions for Parlophone were lacking, and this may be why Peel showed little interest in Martin's later work.

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