Sir George Martin, the record producer who was known as the “fifth Beatle,” died Tuesday at his home at the age of 90.
After signing The Beatles to EMI’s Parlophone Records, he collaborated with the group to create their signature sound, helping to make them into one of the world’s most successful musical groups.
When Parlophone faced being shut down in 1962, Martin brought in The Beatles, who were relative unknowns at the time – the band had been turned away by several other labels.
He also worked with artists such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilia Black, Cheap Trick and many others.
— BBC Arts (@bbcarts) March 9, 2016
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr broke the news via Twitter, giving “peace and love” to his wife and family and saying he’ll be missed.
Other tributes have poured out, including by his son, Giles Martin, who tweeted: “Started out as my dad. Ended up as my best friend. Love is all you need X.”
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) March 9, 2016
Sir George Martin CBE was born in London in 1926. He developed an early interest for music as a child and attended the Guildhall School of Music on a veteran’s grant after serving four years in the Royal Navy.
Martin took over as head of Parlophone Records at the age of 29 and mostly recorded classical musicians and comedians before signing The Beatles.
Martin admitted he wasn’t that impressed with the Beatles and the first recordings he was given of theirs. In his 1979 memoir, All You Need Is Ears, he wrote:
“I could well understand that people had turned it down. But there was an unusual quality of sound, a certain roughness that I hadn’t encountered before.”
Martin won six Grammys, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.