Beatles Without George Martin?

The point of this thread is simple:

The older I get and the more I learn about the Beatles, the more I revere George Martin. I've become convinced that Martin wove the common thread of musicality through those very different individuals. In fact, his talent in some ways clearly exceeded theirs.

A man of musical genius no doubt.

Opinions? Trivial tidbits? Let's hear 'em!
That's why he often called "the fifth Beatle".

Still, the lads could do some things for themselves. When Pete Best was dropped from the band, George Martin arranged a studio drummer for the recording of "Love Me Do", not knowing whether this Ringo guy that the group had lined up would be any good. That's why there are two versions of the song. They sound quite different with the different drummers. Turned out that Ringo wasn't so bad after all so George Martin went along with their choice.
martin was great(when paired with the beatles). his career outside of the beatles music(check his discography without the band)was 'slight' at best. martin didn't write those songs..the boys did. would history have been different if the fab four had been paired with another top record producer of that time> i don't think so. the beatles collective talent was going to happen, and those great lyrics and melodies were in their souls. the beatles were 'students' in the studio for sure, but allowing lennon, mccartney. harrison, and starr to express themselves was martin's greatest accomplishment. martin was an influence for sure, but so were little richard, carl perkins, elvis, cliff richard, meridith wilson, and all the great songwriters and performers that led up to birth of the beatles. pushing the envelope was what the boys set out to do, and they obviously did it.
"his career outside of the beatles music(check his discography without the band)was 'slight' at best" Jaybo - so wrong!

Those great sounding America tracks were produced by George Martin. Sister Golden Hair, Ventura Highway, Horse With No Name, ....
Regarding the argument that he wasn't very successful outside of the Beatles, the same argument could be made for the Beatles as individual artists. None of them were nearly successful as the band itself. This is one of "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts" deals.

Martin wrote and arranged most of the strings for the Beatles.

He also played piano in many of the recordings. His Baroque style piano solo in the middle of "In My Life" is simply beautiful.

It's easy to underestimate his role in the Beatles success until you read many of the books about them.
LOL - you are just discovering what is behind the music!!!

Arrangers and session musicians like Brian Purdie or great producers like Daniel Lanois, Arif Marden etc. It is these musical talents behind the scenes that put the shine on the "poster kiddies".

I mean lets face it - most rock/pop bands are at least 50% about good looks...the true talent are often behind them. A studio with money can make a star out of anyone - from Brittany Spears to the Spice Girls - once the money starts flowing they continue to hire the best of the best. Why is Diana krall so popular? It ain't her virtuoso piano playing or her voice! Diana Krall was told one day....good piano players are all too common - can you learn to sing? Of course singing and throwing your hair back works everytime! Just as well as four cute british blokes with strong liverpool accents and funny haircuts...sure they can play their instruments (a bit) but half the success is the "it" factor - their charisma or appeal to target audiences - a bunch of cute white boys playing american southern blues music (Stones and Clapton) enjoyed mega-success - and no doubt this will continue in the "packaged" music business.
i would argue that the beatles as solo artists(the admitted weaker parts of the 'whole') still dwarf mr. martin's pre and post beatles career. i'm afraid comparing his production duties with the beatles with america, seatrain and others just flaunts what looks like the sobering comedown of a lifetime...doesn't mean he wasn't important, just means he didn't find himself being hired by other artists who were as talented....remember, the u.s. rubber soul is THE rubber soul.
I'd say Paul McCartney has had a pretty successful career without George Martin.

Lots of British bands were signed, given talented producers and the opportunity to show what they could do. Most of them fell flat on their faces or managed a hit or two at best.

America is not in the same league as the Beatles. In fact I don't understand their popularity at all.

Diana Krall is a talented pianist and singer. She plays a type of jazz that is accessible and popular. Is that a sin? If so, Nat Cole is burning in hell and so is Miles Davis for recording Kind of Blue. Miles always wanted his music to be popular, by the way, and was frustrated that he couldn't acheive mass popularity.
Martin was/is a talented guy who helped catalyze and more importantly successfully capture (in recordings)in a marketable way the combined talents of the individual Beatles.

It was a unique combination of talent, collaboration and synergy that obviously produced outstanding and most likely timeless results.

Martin was a key member of that particular highly talented and successful team. He has done lots of other good work as well, but nothing as significant culturally as his early work as an innovator with the Beatles.
Hey wait - didn't he do The Knack's "My Sharona"? What a masterwork!
michael chapman, who produced 'the sweet', did the knack's 'my sharona'...killer riff with the whole 'rave up' thing thrown in....trivia, the knack's doug fieger is the kid brother of super attorney, jeffrey fieger......fieger did two records for rca(pre-knack)with the band 'sky'. they were also killer.
Let me be a little more clear- in no way would I claim Martin was a greater songwriter, or that the Beatles were just a pretty boy band. That of course is rubbish.

It's simply listening to Martin's influence on the guys in studio situations (view old studio footage, listen to behind the scenes tracks) that reveals his ability to take a request McCartney or Lennon had for a certain "sound" and deliver what is now known as a Beatles "defining" sound (Bach Trumpet in Penny Lane, and a zillion other examples).

My point is that many parts of the sound you define as the Beatles- from the multi-layered vocal harmonies to the unique instrumentation often employed- were George Martin's hand delivering what the boys envisioned.
i agree with you totally. rhe right man for the right job. talk about a creative 'think tank'.
>>I'd say Paul McCartney has had a pretty successful career without George Martin.<<

You missed or ignored my point.

I said, "None of them were nearly successful as the band itself".

That is irrefutable.
"None of them were nearly successful as the band itself".

That's because, while it lasted, the talents of each individual Beatle, including Martin, complemented the others almost perfectly.

Take any of them individually, and while still uniquely gifted in different ways, there is not the overall balance and synergy that characterized the Beatles.
Because he was the producer, George Martin received most of the credit in helping to interpret the Beatles ideas into a workable musical idea. However, a great deal of credit should go to Geoff Emerick who was the engineer that recorded their groundbreaking music and developed a way for those ideas to become a musical reality. Anyone interested should read this excellent book, "Here, There and Everywhere" - My Life Recording the music of The Beatles by Geoff Emerick, it's an eye opener.
Well, what about George Martin without the Beatles?
There are combinations of talent that existed in time and space and this team/group/ensemble was one of them.

Even when I was kid and Beatles fan in the late 60s I knew the Martin name and equated it with the success of the Fab Four. One thing Martin did effectively was expose them to resources, other instruments, members of LSO that could augment the basic ideas they had.

Another album that Martin did with Geoff Emerick which was OK was Ultravox' Quartet album from 1984; OK but not great and certainly not anywhere near the caliber of the results with the Beatles.
I second Cyclonicman's assertion about Geoff Emerick; along with Eddie Kramer, those two are among the finest rock recording engineers/artists ever to have walked the planet.

What I wouldn't give just to have a two hour lesson for miking, recording and mixing drums ALONE!
Good point on Geoff Emerick and the role he played in the Beatles recordings.

Years ago Brian Wilson became so unhappy (after the first or second album I believe) with the co-producer, Nick Venet, Capitol assigned to the Beach Boys that he demanded total production control. Capitol relented.

The rest is history.
The more time goes by, the more I come to two conclusions:
1. Yes, the Beatles were geniuses. OK.
2. I am SO SICK of the Beatles!

Got growth?
Chashmal- never would I claim that the Beatles were the only musical geniuses in rock/pop. And yes, I listen to many artists, so I have managed to "grow" as you put it. My point in starting this thread was simply to seek opinions regarding George Martin.
Not an attack on you Danlib1. Far from it. I respect the love and devotion for one of your favorites. Enjoy. I was only speaking for my own frustrations at hearing the same music over and over A LOT for 40 years.

I personally like Martin's production on "Icarus", the only Paul Winter album I like at all. It has a great line up: Colin Walcott, David darling, Ralph Towner. The scope of the stereo image is awesome. There is nothing like that today.
>>I was only speaking for my own frustrations at hearing the same music over and over A LOT for 40 years.<<

Agreed and that's why I avoid our local FM rock stations. Classic rock stations suck. I'm fortunate to have access to a couple stations out of Toronto that play strictly new music.

However, great music is timeless as evidenced not only by the Beatles' popularity but that of the many classical FM stations that populate major markets.

Not to mention the wide variety of classical music offered on cd and vinyl by online and local stores.
Shadorne, I am total agreement regarding Krall. She is the most overrated singer I have ever heard. Diane Schuur is a gazillion times better but she is big and fat so doesn't get the same notoriety.
George Martin was of course a good producer. More than that, he knew when he saw raw talent.

However, if he is more talented than the Beatles, tell me where I can buy his records. How many number ones did George Martin have as an artist? We know the answer is none.

Shadorne, in some cases you are correct. But the examples you give I don't agree with. While D. Krall is not the greatest, I believe B. Spears is more of a made up artist than she is by far. And if its 50% "good looks", why didn't George Martin make his own rock records? Was he too ugly to make it? Give me a break!!
Also, please play me Mr. Emericks number one records also. That's right, there are none.
George Martin is a great producer.
But he's not an artist.

Butch Harmon is a great golf coach.
But he's not a golfer.

Martin Scorcese is a great director.
But he's not an actor.

So much for the azmoon argument.
I had the great fortune of meeting George at Abbey Road. I worked with the Beatles on their first website, which recreated the studio as part of the design, back in 1998 and 99. I was invited on a personal tour and lunch with George, Paul and Paul's son.

He is very English in manner and tone. His hearing has diminished over the years and he speaks in a soft but measured tone. George is a very humble man, IMO, and I had the great honor of hearing St. Pepper replayed in the modern room under his direction from the mixing board console. He told me how cold and airy the original recording room was during the English Winter.

I think the best memory I can share with you all is that he felt very lucky to have spent so much time collaborating with them and being a trusted advisor between the individual Beatles. He was very fond of John, and repeatly told me of his presence on individual tracks, and was completely devastated by his death. You could feel the loss in the timbre of his voice.
The Beatles are so revered that it is almost sacrilege to criticize them. However, remember that the Beatles were turned down by other labels before George Martin stepped in. It is not unrealistic to speculate that they might never have been anything more than a local, cult band lost in the rest of the British invasion if George Martin had not "discovered" them and guided their development.
It is not unrealistic to speculate that they might never have been anything more than a local, cult band lost in the rest of the British invasion if George Martin had not "discovered" them and guided their development.

I quite agree. A good coach while not a player is one of the essential ingredients on a winning team. Look at what Daniel Lanois has achieved from behind the console.
Daniel's solo releases are very good as well.

Not something I can listen to every day but they're very interesting at the right time and mood.

My favorites are "For The Beauty Of Wynona" and "Shine".
The Beatles could never have been "lost in the rest of the British invasion" because they were the CAUSE of the British invasion.

It simply would not have occurred without them.
>>It simply would not have occurred without them.<<

It's disingenuous to speak in absolutes.

That's like saying Viet Nam wouldn't have escalated had Kennedy lived.

We'll simply never know on either example and it's wasted energy belaboring the arguments.
But if Kennedy had lived would the Beatles have escalated? Let's ask Oliver Stone- the expert on things that never happened!
I never understood this thing about Kennedy, especially since they were already considered a phenomenon in the rest of the world long before the Kennedy assassination. I also believe that this was an American tragedy and didn't nearly affect the rest of the world as it did Americans. However, this is only my opinion.
This is getting a bit off track but JFK's death did have far reaching effects. His attempts (with RFK) to aggressively pursue and prosecute organized crime certainly affected every country in which those groups operated. Millions of revenue dollars were the result of the prostitution, gambling, and drug enterprises they operated.

Many historians believe that "The Mob" was involved in his assassination although Oliver Stone took exceptional liberties, IMO, in his interpretation.

One could go on and on regarding Viet Nam, Cuba, the FBI, and who knows what all but Kennedy's death was an event of global impact both immediate and long term.
To say that the Beatles were the cause of the British invasion and that it would not have occurred without them is amazingly uninformed as to the extent and influence of musical talent coming from Britain at that time. Ever heard of The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Yardbirds, The Dave Clark Five, Cliff Richard, etc. etc. etc. You were either not alive then or your Beatles idolatry has blinded you as to what was going on around you.
first of all george martin didn't discover the beatles. secondly there were lots of huge uk bands that didn't make the invasion....all(those that made it, and those that didn't) all set their artistic bars a bit higher when the beatles hit....even the stones, the DC5 and cliff, i'm a huge fan of the yardbirds...and cliff(who really hit his stride in the 70's)....god bless alan tarney
Up until the Beatles, British artists never made it musically in America. Even the Beatles would not come to America unless they had a number one hit in America. Once I want to hold your hand became number one, they were at least willing to go to America. I guess we should thank Ed Sullivan for ushering in the British Invasion, since he is the one that booked the Beatles for 3 successive appearances on his show. When he booked them, it was based on the phenomenal crowds he witnessed waiting for the Beatles at Heathrow airport while his plane was delayed.
Yes, I vote for Ed Sullivan as the one who ushered in the British Invasion!
Ed had quite a show.

You could watch The Beatles, a talking mouse (Topo Gigio), guys throwing bowling pins around, Ethyl Merman, and Woody Allen in one hour.

Ah the good old days. :-)
I agree that the British Invasion was the result of the Beatles success in the US. All the other British bands made it after them and there were no British bands popular in the US before them. Seems rather obvious.
the guy with the talking hand puppet, and bill dana were gods.
>>the guy with the talking hand puppet<<

Do you mean Senor Wences?
bueno senor Audiofeil...salight
Senor Wences trivia (scroll down).

Wences Moreno was born in Spain and was originally a bull fighter. He was an accomplished juggler...yet most of us Americans old enough to remember Ed Sullivan remember Senor Wences for his sock puppet routine...
Just listen to the beatles 'Love'...... then decide if George Martin had a hand in the Beatles success or if he is worthy of the 'fifth beatle' status.
I unashamedly LOVE the album. And yes, I think George Martin is a genius.
No, he is not worthy. There were 4. Period.
Martin as well as Geoff Emerick played significant roles in assisting the Beatles with their music. It is the Beatles who made George Martin and not the other way around!
I'd say he actually contributed to the creative process of many songs. Suggestions in recording studios have synergy or not. Paul called him after they produced recordings elsewhere. Paul wanted the Beatles to record together like they use to do. Like Sun Studios in Nashiville, somebody contributed something very special during the recording process. Great stuff came out of there. Jimmy Page was a great studio musician and brought many recording skills to Zepplin's sound.

Martin provided a balance and themes to albums in terms of some song selections, too. The alternate takes on songs while making an album had many of his suggestions for musical coherency. His earliest mono recordings are historical, and the latest DVD-A Love is beyond any remix I've heard lately.