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Thank you for the music, George

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Sir George Martin, producer of the Beatles, has died aged 90.

“He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family. If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George.” Sir Paul McCartney

"Thank you for all your love and kindness George peace and love Ringo Starr"

Of all the people who could claim fifth Beatle status, George Martin was the closest to making the quartet a quintet. But the really notable thing is, Martin would never ever have laid claim to such a status himself. For Martin was the rarest of things in the music business: a man of humility, whose enormous talent was bounded by a conspicuous lack of ego.

. . . Martin was a quintessential English gentleman: a former grammar school boy and Navy pilot, who carried himself with the quiet gravitas of a British officer. He dressed with the modest conservatism of a university academic and spoke with the gentle tones and sophisticated eloquence of a royal equerry.

. . . A self-taught pianist and classically trained oboist and easy-going but hard working professional, he became a respected producer in the EMI set up. There, his work as an arranger and producer ranged across symphonic, choral and chamber music, jazz albums and, quite significantly, comedy records of The Goons which demonstrated Martin's sense of play and openness to experimentation.

At 36 years old, with an incredible array of unusual skills, he was not just ready for The Beatles when they turned up in his studio – he was the only A&R man in the music business to recognise their potential.

. . . Martin also leaves a fantastic recording studio, Air, which he established in 1965 and which remains one of the leading studios in the world, still flourishing as a space where musicians go to physically play instruments in a time when most production has retreated into tiny home studios and involves little more than digital computer technology.

For anyone who has had the pleasure and privilege to meet Martin, one thing that strikes someone is a quality this patrician gentleman (albeit one born to a carpenter in Holloway) had in common with the working class Liverpudlian superstars. He was incredibly approachable, unfailingly polite and charming, with time for everybody.

Ave atque Vale.

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