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George Martin's autobiography is highly readable and interesting for any fan of popular music. It should be noted that this book is not an in-depth discussion of how Beatles records were made, but more of an overview of Martin's larger career (yes, he did do many other things besides produce the Beatles!), and a rumination on the astonishing changes in recording technology which have taken place in so short a time over the course of Martin's career. Special chapters discuss such specifics as the acoustics of studios, the changing role of record producers, and methods of writing film scores, all in a clear way that the average reader can understand without being very technical. I was struck by the breadth of Martin's sonic understanding, his appreciation of many kinds of music, and his down-to-earth approach to everything. Along the way we are treated to anecdotes about his personal life, his work with comedians such as Peter Sellers, his financial struggles with EMI and his own company, AIR, etc. The Beatles are mostly discussed in a chapter on "Sgt. Pepper," though his recent book "The Making of Sgt. Pepper" is an even more illuminating tract on that subject. "All You Need is Ears" first came out in the late 1970s and may seem a bit dated now, were it not for the fact that Martin predicted most of the technological advances that have happened since, including the rise of digital recording and compact discs. Fans interested only in the Beatles should also look elsewhere, but anyone interested in a larger view of various aspects of the recording industry will be fascinated.
There are very few memoirs published by record producers, especially producers as important as George Martin, producer and ?discoverer" of the Beatles. I do call it a memoir because that's what it is - much more is covered than the Beatles. This is a book about George Martin, through and through.
The first 100 pages or so recount Martin's early history in the British military up through his first job in the recording industry. There is staggering detail to this, naming even the most insignificant people he met along the way. But since we know this is all contributing to what would become Martin's genius, it really isn't all that tedious. Eventually we come to the chapter on the Beatles - how he discovered them, how he recorded them, and then single by singe, how they became the biggest band in the world. Whether he intends it or not, there is an epic quality to practically every word Martin writes (or rather, has ghostwritten for him).
Being a professional in today's music industry and seeing literally all music being recorded on computers, it's fascinating to see the technology they were working from. He writes of actually recording to *wax records*. It's also nice to see someone getting so excited about the advent of stereo recording. It's something we don't even think about today, but to the producers of Martin's era, recording in stereo was as profound as recording to hard drives today.
I also was amazed to learn that he made almost no money off the Beatles records. Today, a comparable producer - say Glenn Ballard, Alanis' former producer - has probably made in the dozens of millions of dollars. Martin didn't earn any royalties on those records, and he also refused an ownership stake in the publishing company set up exclusively for Beatles songs.Read more ›
This is a truly amazing book. I had just finished reading "Here, There and Everywhere" by Geoff Emerick (the Beatles recording engineer) and decided I wanted to know more about George Martin, their producer. It was a great decision because the introspect gained from reading both of these books together tells a big picture that I before could only guess at.
George's personality really comes out in this book and it makes it far easier to understand what went on during the Beatles many many recording sessions. It has been said that the producer is a major contributer to the outcome of any project and this book definately confirms and educates about that process.
It is an easy read and the edition that I purchased has fairly decent sized type and makes it easy on the eyes. It is a paperback and tucks easily into your daybag or briefcase for those times when you can read a few minutes - but if you are like I am - you may devour the whole thing in one seating!
The early life of George Martin is also detailed in this book with it's different perspective of growing up in Britain. I had no idea that George Martin was in pop music groups as he was growing up and that came as a terrific surprise. I might have known, though.
The classical side of George Martin comes out strong also. This came into very significant play as he produced the Beatles.
Great book. Don't hesitate to buy this!
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This book as the answer. It was written by their producer who sometimes had to work from insane directions. The Bealtes were not the only ones working hard on thier songs. George Martin contributed to the group as well. The parts on the early days are fascinating too. The chapter on the making of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is hysterical. By early days, I mean his early days as a producer of comedy records, and when he first started working with the Beatles. He has an interesting perspective on them, and their music. It never becomes more of a musical study then his story, which is a definite plus. This is worth reading.
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