No, not the Game of Thrones guy. The Beatles producer guy. The guy who earned the title of “Fifth Beatle” more than anyone else ever did. This is a casual obit, written by someone who can’t write very elegantly and who will miss him very much.
I don’t know if anyone else hear on Groupthink is as crazed a Beatles fan as I am, but anyone who has ever skirmished their way into any history of the band has run into Martin’s name pretty much from page 1. In the early 1960s, George Martin was a record producer struggling to get along with niche comedy albums, who decided to give some Liverpudlians a chance (even if one of them—George—didn’t like his tie).
While Brian Epstein can be given credit for making the Beatles scrub up and act presentable, Martin gets the credit for making them sound marvelous—check out the first Beatles Anthology and you can hear how much and how rapidly their sound evolves under his tutelage. He was a constant sounding board and musical aide for all of them; it is due to his unending work to help the lads achieve what they wanted (even if what they wanted was the sound of “the Dalai Lama chanting from a hilltop” or the smell “of sawdust on the floor,” to quote some of John’s more vague ideas) that gave Beatles songs such an experimental edge.
George Martin’s work didn’t stop at the Beatles; he also helped Paul on some of his solo work, messed about with other musicians who I don’t know as much about, and was generally just a dignified, wonderful person. His writings and reflections on his life’s work are fantastic (his book on the making of Sgt. Pepper is a gift to the world); his musical legacy is nonparalleled. He will be very much missed.