Sir George Martin – The Fifth Beatle

I’ve conducted research on The Beatles for a Teach Rock lecture I am building. I keep uncovering books from authoritative authors. It’s amazing what I have unearthed thus far and what remains to be discovered.

A key vantage point about the lads is a two-volume series about the influential Fifth Beatle, Sir George Martin by Kenneth Womack.

Kenneth Womack is a world-renowned authority on the Beatles and their enduring cultural influence. His latest book project involves a two-volume, full-length biography devoted to famed Beatles producer Sir George Martin. The first book in the series is entitled Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin (The Early Years, 1926-1966). The second volume, Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin (The Later Years, 1966-2016), is to be released tomorrow September 4th.

The first book of a two-part series, Maximum Volume traces Martin’s early years as a scratch pianist, his life in the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War, and his groundbreaking work as the head of Parlophone Records during the 1950s, when Martin saved the company from ruin after making his name as a producer of comedy and spoken-word recordings. In its most dramatic moments, Maximum Volume narrates the story of Martin’s unlikely discovery of the Beatles and his painstaking efforts to prepare their newfangled sound for the British music marketplace. As the story unfolds, Martin and the band craft many number-one hits along the group’s progress towards The Ed Sullivan Show and such landmark songs as “Yesterday” and “In My Life”—Beatles tunes that bear Martin’s unmistakable musical signature.

As Martin and the Beatles create one landmark album after another, including such masterworks as Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (The White Album), and Abbey Road, the internal stakes and interpersonal challenges become ever greater. During his post-Beatles years, Martin attempts to discover new vistas of sound recording with a host of acts, including Jeff Beck, America, Cheap Trick, Paul McCartney, and Elton John. Eventually, all roads lead Martin back to the Beatles, as the group seeks out new ways to memorialize their achievement under the supervision of the man who came to be known as Sir George. Now, more than 50 years later, Martin’s singular stamp remains on popular music as successive generations discover the magic of the Beatles.

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