Okay - The Clash had it right. "No Elvis, Beatles, Rolling Stones."
Because they're the big three, right? The Crassus, Caesar and Pompey of rock. And I agree. I remember being sad in 1977 at The King's death. I was fucking angry when Lennon was shot in 1980. I loved it when Travis performed a George Harrison tribute at The Brits in 2001 to kids too stupid, too gauche, to understand the death that had just happened.
And so George Martin passes away.
He would be famous for many things but his decision to sign The Beatles has to rank as one of the cleverest, smartest, most profitable decisions ever made. He auditioned the Beatles in June 1962. In March 1964 the Beatles were numbers 1-5 in America.
Let me just say that again in case any of you younger people don't get it.
In March 1964 The Beatles were numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 in the American charts. So fuck off any One DIrections out there. You are literally shit under McCartney's shoe. And John Lennon? Seriously ladies, go and get another tattoo and fuck the Queen of Chavs. Leave the music to George Martin and the Beatles. You are, quite simply, nothing.
Because behind The Beatles was always George Martin. The Beatles would still have been The Beatles without him (see She's Leaving Home and, shamefully those twats on Newsnight who highlighted The Long and Winding Road - a Phil Spectre orchestration)... But in a million ways he pushed and facilitated The Fab Four.
- Can't But Me Love starts with the chorus because of him
- Sgt Pepper was all about George Martin
- He invented ADT (automatic Double Tracking)
- He scored Yesterday for strings
- He made I Am Walrus the kick-ass proto-type Oasis it is
- He made Strawberry Fields Forever from pieces of Lennon brilliance.
- He came up with idea for Please Please Me - an album in a day. He also speeded the single up to give the Beatles their first hit.
- He does a mean rock n roll piano. Check out Rock N Roll Music - that's George rocking out on the ivories.
- He went independent from EMI in 1967 and so broke the monopoly of the record companies on how their artists sound
- A million, billion things large and small that created the greatest rock and pop group ever. My views on this are not sanguine, nor debatable.
And on top of everything he was a genuine English gent who fought in the war, the sort we seem in short supply of these days - restrained, decent, modest and competent. A good bloke.
Sorry this is so inadequate George; you deserve much better from me.