Record producer Sir George Martin, dubbed “The Fifth Beatle” for his part in the iconic band’s success, has passed away aged 90.
Signing the Beatles to his Parlophone label in 1962, Martin went on to help them create multiple hit records, as well as working with musicians like Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Dame Shirley Bassey throughout his career.
Martin (right) with Ringo Starr at the 2008 Grammys
By the time of his death, Martin had produced over 700 records with 30 number-one hits in the UK alone – a long way from his early years as a carpenter’s son in north London.
Breaking the news on Twitter, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr paid tribute to Martin, saying the producer “would be missed” and sending him “peace and love”.
God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family love Ringo and Barbara George will be missed xxx ????✌️????????☮
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) March 9, 2016
Martin’s manager Adam Sharp added: “The family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and messages of support.
“In a career that spanned seven decades, he was an inspiration to many and is recognised globally as one of music’s most creative talents. He was a true gentleman to the end.”
Martin and the Beatles first crossed paths in 1962 when the then head of Parlophone heard their demo tape before going on to produce all but one of their albums. He famously asked the quartet if there was anything they didn’t like about their early set-up, to which George Harrison replied, “I don’t like your tie for a start.”
After The Beatles split, Martin went on to work with a string of artists, including Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers and Jeff Beck. He produced two James Bond themes – Goldfinger by Bassey and Paul McCartney and Wings’s Live and Let Die – as well as Elton John’s 1997 recording of Candle in the Wind in tribute to Princess Diana.
He was knighted in 1996, a year before Sir Paul McCartney. He leaves behind wife Judy Lockhart-Smith and four children – Alexis, Gregory, Lucie and Giles.