Paul McCartney: George Martin was 'like a second father to me'
Following the death of legendary Beatles producer George Martin on Tuesday, Paul McCartney remembered the producer and arranger as a “truly great man.”
The Beatles co-founder posted a lengthy statement to his blog early Wednesday, recalling how Martin was instrumental in turning the Beatles into a global phenomenon.
“I’m so sad to hear the news of the passing of dear George Martin. I have so many wonderful memories of this great man that will be with me forever,” McCartney wrote. “He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humor that he became a true friend to me and my family. If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George. 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 highlighted a specific example of Martin’s guidance and skill in his statement: the time Martin suggested adding a string quartet to “Yesterday.”
“It’s hard to choose favorite memories of my time with George, there are so many but one that comes to mind was the time I brought the song ‘Yesterday’ to a recording session and the guys in the band suggested that I sang it solo and accompany myself on guitar,” he wrote. “After I had done this George Martin said to me, ‘Paul I have an idea of putting a string quartet on the record.’ I said, ‘Oh no George, we are a rock and roll band and I don’t think it’s a good idea.’ With the gentle bedside manner of a great producer he said to me, ‘Let us try it and if it doesn’t work we won’t use it and we’ll go with your solo version.’ I agreed to this and went round to his house the next day to work on the arrangement.”
McCartney added that Martin was “so correct” in his decision. “His idea obviously worked because the song subsequently became one of the most recorded songs ever with versions by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and thousands more,” he wrote.
Martin produced nearly every Beatles song, and was responsible for 23 of the group’s No. 1 hits in the U.S. (and 30 in the United Kingdom). “I am proud to have known such a fine gentleman with such a keen sense of humor, who had the ability to poke fun at himself. Even when he was Knighted by the Queen there was never the slightest trace of snobbery about him,” McCartney wrote. Martin was kknighted in 1996, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
“The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music,” McCartney wrote. Read his full statement here.