Famed Beatles producer George Martin died on Tuesday at the age of 90. Martin not only collaborated with the Fab Four throughout the band’s career, but also produced a variety of other artists, and his work has inspired generations of musicians and music fans alike.
Paul McCartney shared both his sadness at the news of Martin’s passing, and some favorite memories, in a 500-word post on his blog early Wednesday morning.
McCartney writes that Martin “was a true gentleman and like a second father to me,” saying the producer “guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour 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 goes on to share one of his favorite memories of working with Martin, recalling how the producer gently prodded McCartney to allow him to add strings to McCartney’s “Yesterday,” which was initially intended to be McCartney and his guitar alone.
“When we recorded the string quartet at Abbey Road, it was so thrilling to know his idea was so correct that I went round telling people about it for weeks,” McCartney says. “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.”
McCartney concludes, “The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music. God bless you George and all who sail in you!”
Some of Martin’s collaborators and admirers have issued statements paying tribute to the man who is considered by many to be “the Fifth Beatle.”
Elton John, whose memorable 1997 remake of his hit “Candle in the Wind” was produced by Martin, wrote on his Twitter feed, “So sad to hear about Sir George. It is the end of a wonderful era. He was a delightful, brilliant man.”
America, with whom Martin worked on several albums during the 1970s, tweeted, “Saddened by the passing of our dear friend and musical collaborator Sir George Martin. Uniquely special man. RIP.”
In a joint Twitter message, George Harrison’s widow, Olivia, and son, Dhani, wrote, “George Martin was a gentleman above all. May he rest in peace. Our thoughts are with Judy & the family at this sad time.”
John Lennon’s older son, Julian, wrote in a series of tweets, “So Sad to hear the News of George’s Passing… The Fifth Beatle, without question, and likely one of the best & most Iconic Music Producers of all time… It was an Honour to know You. My Heart & Prayers go out to Judy and all other Family members.”
Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, who worked closely with Martin for years, says in a statement, “The mark he left on the music world is indisputable. I had the pleasure of sitting and working side by side with him during the creation of the most iconic music of The Beatles. He was a true gentleman, and we had the same sense of humor. He was like a father to me. I’m proud to have shared so many memorable years with him.”
Martin’s son, Giles, who has produced some of Paul McCartney’s recent recordings, tweeted this touching note: “RIP dad. I love you. I’m so proud to have been your son. I’ll miss you more than words can say. Thank you for the all times we had together.”
Here are what some other well-known musicians had to say in homage to Martin:
Queen’s Brian May: “So sad to hear of the passing of the great George Martin…Very Sad, and sincere condolences to his family…But also … What a glorious innings! Always always positive, and deeply thoughtful and creative, the man was a gentle giant of popular music…I didn’t know him well, but our few conversations were full of light. Massive respects and love. Bless you George!”
Peter Frampton: “He was an incredible producer and always a gentleman, one of the nicest people I ever met. I had the privilege of working with him and we became friends. His legacy is large. George and the Beatles changed every thing in the recording studio and we all learned from them. So long, Sir George we will always miss you. RIP.”
The Who: “Rest in peace Sir George Martin 1926-2016. With love, Pete and Roger.”
Bryan Adams: “Goodbye George Martin, thanks for producing the music that changed my world and everyone else’s.”
Toto’s Steve Lukather: “God Bless George Martin. He defined what Production as we know it could be. A genius arranger/musician and pure class. He will be missed.”
Nils Lofgren: “Thanks for the musical magic that inspires my life and heals our planet Rest in Peace.”
Flea: “George Martin. Wow. People made records that were that good.”
Dave Navarro: “Awww man! RIP Sir George Martin and thank you for the inspiration! My life wouldnt have been the same without you.”
Producer Quincy Jones: “RIP to my musical brother George Martin. We were friends since 1964, & I am so thankful 4 that gift. Bless u & your precious posse 4ever.”