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An Evening with Sir George Martin

Updated on February 10, 2012

Andrew Marr interviews The Beatles Legendary producer

Did you ever get that feeling of  Deja vu? Back in 1982 my good friend Paul Tidey invited me to be his guest for the day at Abbey Road studios. This time he phoned me up to ask if I'd like to go with him to Kings place in London to see George Martin in conversation with Andrew Marr! After carefully considering what else I could do that evening I made a split second decision- of course I'd love to go!!  The event took place on April 28th 2010 & the evening was in aid of deafness research uk, whose aim is to secure radical improvements in the prevention,diagnosis & treatment of all forms of hearing impairment.

Paul & I managed to struggle through a drink at the bar before the night's events unfolded & when the doors finally opened we tried to walk in as casually as possible! Seeing George Martin in the flesh you realize what an imposing & dignified person he is. He walked onto the stage to a very warm reception & put his hand to his forehead to gaze out  at us all.Andrew Marr is best known in England as a political commentator, but he was certainly in his element with Sir George.

Sir George spoke about his early career & how he came to be in charge of parlophone records. His work with the English comedy group The Goons was something that  certainly impressed The Beatles. He has also worked with artists as diverse as Cilla Black, America & jeff Beck among many. He also made the record 'Goodness Gracious me' in 1960 with Peter sellers of The Goons ( later of Pink Panther fame ) & Sophia Loren. She was filming at the time & he had to fly out to record her part, remarking 'It's a hard job but somebody's got to do it!' Of course, most people had come to hear him speak about The Beatles & he didn't disappoint.

Interestingly he wasn't that impressed with The Beatles music when he first heard it, but said that it was their charisma & sense of humor that grabbed him. He commented that he fell in love with them, mischievously adding 'no, not like that ducky!' When he asked them if there was anything they didn't like George Harrison told him he didn't like his tie! He related how 'Please please me' was originally a slower song in the style of Roy Orbison. His classical training was crucial in adding that extra ingredient to their songs. He put a wonderful string  arrangement on 'Yesterday'. Paul hadn't wanted it to sound like Mantovani, so George gave it more of a chamber sound. George explained that with recording that you're trying to take a photograph in sound, something that became more complex with the advent of multi tracking. With the end of touring The Beatles were to scale even greater heights in the studio, Strawberry fields Forever & Penny Lane being an excellent start.Working with a great produer in Sir George they were constantly experimenting & looking for something new. It was marvelous to hear Sir George in conversation with Andrew Marr, who it has to be said was an excellent interviewer.

After the interview there was an auction of books & paintings by Andrew Marr, signed cd box sets by Sir George & a unique opportunity to have a photo taken with Sir George. There was also a  Remo weatherking Ambassador drumhead signed 'love Ringo' which fetched £1,800.The highest money paid on the night was for a limited edition lithograph of the score of 'yesterday', being an exact duplicate of the original, down to the mistakes, tea stains & scribbles! At the time paul had written on the score 'by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Martin Esq & Mozart! Paul & Sir George had both signed the framed lithograph, which was designed by Lord David Linley, nephew of HRH Queen Elizabeth 2nd. This highly collectible item sold for £10,500, the evening's proceedings raising £26,000 for a very worthy cause.

Sir George left as soon as the auction ended & it was only afterwards that we found out that Paul McCartney was in the audience for the interview, having quietly slipped in, then he slipped out again just as quietly before the auction began! We couldn't believe we'd been so near but so far! Just a quick snatch of a tune would have sufficed! Nonetheless, another wonderful night that will live long in the memory.

Sir George & Andrew; my ticket

Sir George in conversation with Andrew Marr
Sir George in conversation with Andrew Marr
My ticket for the event
My ticket for the event

paul sings yesterday live!


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    • wilbury steve profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Webb 

      6 years ago from Great Wakering, England

      Hi pinto2011! many thanks for your very kind comments,it's most appreciated!

    • pinto2011 profile image


      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice and very involving hub. A great and very effective narrative power.

    • wilbury steve profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Webb 

      7 years ago from Great Wakering, England

      Thanks for stopping by vocalcoach, I really appreciate your comments & am glad you enjoyed it! It was a great pleasure to see George Martin in the flesh & to hear his anecdotes, & to be able to share it on Hubpages! :>)

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      A fantastic hub! George Martin is the very heart of the Beatles. Like James says, he is a genius. Thanks so much for this - enjoyed it immensely! Rated up!

    • wilbury steve profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Webb 

      7 years ago from Great Wakering, England

      Hi attemptedhumour. many thanks for your comments & observations. you certainly hit the nail on the head!

      All the best


    • attemptedhumour profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Hi Steve, yes George Martin's influence was a major ingredient in their overall success. He gave them an extra dimension that other groups could only try and copy. His humour would have helped too. He taught the Beatles to integrate classical music into their songs and the results speak for themselves. It's a pity Paul didn't step on stage and sing a song or two as i'm sure it would have helped the auction and given the audience a lasting memory. Cheers my lucky friend.

    • wilbury steve profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Webb 

      8 years ago from Great Wakering, England

      Many thanks for your comments James, they're always much appreciated! George martin I think truly deserves the title of 5th Beatle for all his wonderful work on their records, which gave them that extra special dimension that still makes them so listenable today.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      I love this Hub! I think George Martin is the best producer ever. A pure genius—and that is rare in this world. Thank you for this journey.


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