BMI mourns the loss of legendary music producer Sir George Martin, who died Tuesday at the age of 90. Responsible for signing the Beatles to a recording contract in 1962, and, in fact, often referred to as the “Fifth Beatle,” Martin was the iconic group’s closest collaborator, producing almost all of their music, including their first U.S. #1 single, the groundbreaking “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and who, with them, created a historic new face for popular music.
A classically-trained composer, Martin wrote the Beatles’ orchestral arrangements, played piano on their recordings and downplayed his role in their success. He also truly loved their music, although in a 2011 BBC interview about his first meeting with them, he’s dryly quoted as saying, “They had this wonderful charisma. They made you feel good to be with them. And I thought their music was rubbish.”
In addition to the Beatles, Martin also produced records for other superstars including Cilla Black, Jeff Beck, Cheap Trick, America, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Kenny Rogers, Neil Sedaka, Jimmy Webb, Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Meat Loaf, Carly Simon, Celine Dion and Kate Bush, among others. He also produced the best-selling single of all time: Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997.”
Sir George Martin was a PRS For Music member who licensed his music in the U.S. through BMI. He will be sorely missed by his friends and fans at the Company and beyond.