An Evening with Sir George Martin
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
- Hearing Research Trust : Deafness Research UK, the medical charity for deaf and hard of hearing peop
Deafness Research UK is the medical charity for deaf and hard of hearing people. We exist to secure radical improvements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all forms of hearing impairment. Ultimately, our aim is to find cures for these dis
- The Beatles Bible: songs, albums, history, profiles, places, photos and more.
The Beatles' songs, albums, places, photos and more, including a day-by-day guide to their career from 1957 to 1970 and beyond, plus profiles of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, George Martin, Brian Epstein and many others.
Sir George's website