Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fifth Beatle, producer George Martin, dies, deaf, at 90

     Paul McCartney was miffed when a critic called Sgt. Pepper "George Martin's best album." But someone had to do things like tell John Lennon that violins (properly tuned) can't play middle C. Martin was a practical genius, classically trained, who made the Beatles' musical visions real.
     Although the Parlaphone's Abbey Road studios were a technological ghetto compared to California studios, Martin always rose beyond the limitations of his equipment.
     To achieve the weird steam organ background of Mr. Kite, Martin had a tape sliced into two-foot strips and flung from a ladder, picked up and spliced together as they had fallen. The Wiki account of this:
     In the middle eight bars, multiple recordings of fairground organs and calliope music were spliced together to attempt to produce this request. In a 1968 interview, Martin recalled that he achieved "this by playing the Hammond organ myself and speeding it up."[8] After a great deal of unsuccessful experimentation, Martin instructed recording engineer Geoff Emerick to chop the tape into pieces with scissors, throw them up in the air, and re-assemble them at random.
     The Beatles mostly recorded in Studio Two at Abbey Road, a converted 9-room Georgian townhouse built in 1830. 500,000 people a year knock on the door and are turned away but you can tour the place, via Google, here.

     Below is an extraordinary meeting Martin had, before he completely lost his hearing, with Beach Boy Brian Wilson. At the end he remixed the group's greatest song, God Only Knows, on the spot — flooring Brian, who said he liked it better than his own master mix. In 2013, AKSARBENT posted a wonderful video with Martin showing how he mixed A Day In the Life, but Universal Music Group has now blocked that video from the Internet in the USA.

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