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Sir George Martin, the 'Fifth Beatle,' Dies at Age 90

Image: Sir George Martin, the 'Fifth Beatle,' Dies at Age 90

George Martin at a 1995 press conference. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

By    |   Wednesday, 09 Mar 2016 07:57 AM

Sir George Martin, the legendary producer some have dubbed "The Fifth Beatle," died Tuesday at age 90.

"If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George," Sir Paul McCartney said in a statement, CNN reported

"From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I've ever had the pleasure to know."

McCartney added that Martin was "like a second father to me."

"God bless George Martin peace and love to [his wife] Judy and his family," Ringo Starr tweeted on Tuesday. 

In a career that spanned decades, Martin worked with the Beatles for seven years in addition to a number of other prominent musicians, including Peter Sellers, Shirley Bassey, America, Cheap Trick, Jeff Beck, and Celine Dion.

"When I first met the Beatles in 1962, I didn't think much of their songs at all," Martin once said in an interview. "But they learned so quickly how to write a hit. They were like plants in a hothouse. They grew incredibly fast."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Martin was at the time head of EMI’s Parlophone Records, and said the band's demo made with Decca Records was "rather unpromising," but there was something about the Lennon-McCartney harmonies. 

Martin is credited with helping the scruffy young men from Liverpool hone their sound, and try new things in the studio.

"Oh no, George. We are a rock and roll band," McCartney once told him when he suggested adding stringed instruments into the composition of "Yesterday."

Though initially opposed, McCartney eventually agreed to add a cello and a violin.

"His idea obviously worked because the song subsequently became one of the most recorded songs ever," said McCartney.

Martin was born on Jan. 3, 1926, in Highbury, London, and dreamed of becoming the "next Rachmaninoff" when he learned to play the piano as a child.

He did a stint with the Royal Navy, and went on to study music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

He wrote an autobiography in 1979, and in 1997 re-recorded Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," which was used as a tribute to Princess Diana.

Martin said it was "probably my last single. It’s not a bad one to go out on."

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Sir George Martin, the legendary producer some have dubbed "The Fifth Beatle," died Tuesday at age 90.
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Wednesday, 09 Mar 2016 07:57 AM
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