Next time you hear a Beatles tune — and you’ll hear a bunch today — there’s a decent chance you’re hearing the fifth Beatle, George Martin, their producer on some type of keyboard. A fine musician himself, here’s a list of the songs on which the just-turned-90 genius played.
If I Needed Someone
A Day in the Life
Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely HCB
Across the Universe
Got To Get You Into My Life
Baby It’s You
You Really Got A Hold On Me
Not A Second Time
All You Need Is Love
Tomorrow Never Knows
Good Day Sunshine
In My Life
You Like Me Too Much
What You’re Doing
A Hard Day’s Night
Rock & Roll Music
Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey
Run For Your Life
George Henry Martin was born January 3, 1926. Young George insisted on learning the piano but, after just eight lessons, insisted on quitting… preferring to teach himself. He says music was always in him – that, “like John (Lennon), I grew up feeling music and naturally making music.” George eventually received classical training on a veterans grant as a composition student after serving in the Royal Navy during World War II.
Martin signed the band while a young producer at EMI’s Parlophone label – recording jazz, cabaret, but mostly comedy and novelty records. Another reason why he was such the ideal fit for the Beatles. They’re nothing if not funny. In fact, their producer-to-be initially liked their wit more than their original songs.
The future ‘Sir George’ played piano on a number of tracks from Please Please Me and dozens more as listed above. He suggested adding a string quartet to Yesterday and scored others, such as Eleanor Rigby and Penny Lane. He encouraged them to experiment. They, by nature, being experimenters… it was the perfect combo.
Martin writes in his memoir, All You Need Is Ears, that it was a colleague who made one of the better suggestions in human history:
“George. I don’t know if you’d be interested, but there’s a chap who’s come in with a tape of a group he runs. They haven’t got a recording contract, and I wonder if you’d like to see him and listen to what he’s got?”
“Certainly,” I said, “I’m willing to listen to anything. Ask him to come and see me.”
“O.K., I will. His name’s Brian Epstein…”
Happy birthday to the beloved George Martin! And many more.