Leader: The Beatles got by with a little help from their friend

Beatles fans walk across the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing after paying tribute to producer George Martin. Picture: Getty
Beatles fans walk across the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing after paying tribute to producer George Martin. Picture: Getty
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WAS it serendipity or fate that decreed that two of world’s creative songwriters would one day befriend a man with the technical expertise to allow their wonderful music to be shared with the rest of the world? No-one will ever know, but we should just be thankful that The Beatles found George Martin and vice versa.

The death of the veteran producer will be keenly felt by the generation who grew up listening to the Fab Four, and the children and grandchildren that continue to draw inspiration from their prodigious canon of recordings.

The music was – and is – vital and exciting, but most of all, it was fiercely innovative. Tracks like Tomorrow Never Knows and Strawberry Field Forever tore up the rulebook and showed how the humble pop song could become a work of art. The Beatles were the architects of that vision, but it was George Martin who showed them how to construct it.

Some of the band’s best known recordings owe an incalculable amount to the his intuition and experimentation. Take the haunting yet forceful string section on Eleanor Rigby, which Paul McCartney initially envisaged as a Vivaldi-style piece.

George Martin, however, instructed the string section to play short, aggressive notes and ensured the microphones were placed close to the instruments so that the listener could hear the bow scratching on the strings.

It is little adornments such as this that helped cement the band’s timeless legacy and George Martin – rightly called the fifth Beatle – was a vital part of their success. The wealth of tributes that have come his way is entirely befits his contribution.