The older I get, the more I appreciate what a phenomenon The Beatles actually were.
When you think every band has a set line-up, which although can change, you never get people associated with them as official members, which makes it more incredible that there was always a case for a fifth Beatle - Sir George, Brian Epstein and Stuart Sutcliffe. Theres even a wiki page dedicated to it. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Beatle
But for me, when it comes down to the music, Sir George has to fill that role. He was Algernon to the Fab's Bash Street Kids.
Geoff also does the drive time show every week night on Absolute radio and does a 2 hour show on Absolute radio 60's every Sunday morning (10 - 12 UK time) called Beatles Brunch. I can highly recommend this show.
Sir Paul gave a very nice tribute: " 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. He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He 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.
It’s hard to choose favourite 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. 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.
He took my chords that I showed him and spread the notes out across the piano, putting the cello in the low octave and the first violin in a high octave and gave me my first lesson in how strings were voiced for a quartet. 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. 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.
This is just one of the many memories I have of George who went on to help me with arrangements on 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Live and Let Die' and many other songs of mine.
I am proud to have known such a fine gentleman with such a keen sense of humour, 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.
My family and I, to whom he was a dear friend, will miss him greatly and send our love to his wife Judy and their kids Giles and Lucy, and the grandkids.
The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music.
As I live just a few tube stops from Abbey Road I went down to pay my respects to the great man on the day he died. It was a miserable wet day in London reflecting the mood, and when I arrived there were a few tv cameras outside, possibly hoping Macca would arrive.(don't think he did). I was ok on my day down to this as you can accept people dying at a good age, it's the natural way, however it was when I heard The Beatles music wafting out on to the streets from Abbey Road I started to well up and got emotional. BBC4 That night showed the wonderful Arena special on this lovely man, covering his comedy records and then The Beatles. He certainly was for me The Fifth Beatle, without his enthusiasm and input, who knows how The Beatles would sound, perhaps just another rock band, i'm doubtful the band would have reached the incredible heights that they reached without the guiding hand of the wonderful George Martin. No doubt he'll be producing the choir invisible up in heaven now.