When George Martin died on March 8, 2016, adding to the many sad passings of that year, we knew that the true fifth Beatle had gone.
In the beginning we stared at the backs of our first Beatle album for something new, his was one of the names we always saw.
He never looked like a Beatle. Was not hip. Hair combed back. Business-like clothing.
George Martin knew sound. He was willing to expand choices and options. He knew talent. And his talent brought us the sound the Beatles had inside their heads and put that sound forever inside our hearts. He knew how to compress their coal into musical diamonds.
It would be unfair to say he rode the Beatles’ coattails to fame just as it would be unfair to say the Beatles would not have been famous without George Martin.
Fortune offered them the same breeze and we are lucky they boarded the same boat.
Beatles Producer Sir George Martin
From the New York Times obituary: “His collaboration with the Beatles inevitably overshadowed his other accomplishments. Between 1962 and 1970, Mr. Martin produced 13 albums and 22 singles for the group, a compact body of work that adds up to less than 10 hours of music but that revolutionized the popular music world.“
Less than 10 hours of music!
Those “other” credits of his go on several pages. The AllMusic site’s list includes:
The Four Preps formed in 1956 and sang great harmonies. Their biggest hit was a 1958 hit 26 Miles. They appeared on TV, on popular shows, and with popular stars.
But the 50s were finished and it was...
March 1964. The Beatles had arrived. with their three consecutive weeks on the Ed Sullivan Show. Meet the Beatles had been the #1 album since February 15 and would remain there until May 1. Then The Beatles Second Album would hit #1 and remain their until June 5. Then from July 25 until October 30 those damn Beatles would have another #1 album, Hard Days Night,
Between April 4 – May 8, five of their singles "Can't Buy Me Love", "Twist and Shout", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "Please Please Me” were the top five songs.
The week of April 11, the Beatles had 14 songs in the top 100:
Can’t Buy Me Love
Twist & Shout
She Loves You
I Want To Hold Your Hand
Please Please Me
Do You Want to Know a Secret
I Saw Her Standing There
You Can’t Do That
All My Loving
From Me To You
Thank You Girl
There’s A Place
Roll Over Beethoven
Love Me Do
In total, The Beatles will have five #1 singles in 1964.
Four Preps Write Beatles
It was completely understandable when on March 9, 1964 Capital Records, the company that released almost all of the Beatles' songs in the US, decided to cash in on such a gold mine. Written by Ivan Ulz, Glen Larsen, and Bruce Bellard, Letter to the Beatles was a novelty song in which a boyfriend wishes his Beatle-maniac girlfriend would get her mind off of those Beatles.
My girl fell in love with a singing group From England far away. She lost her mind, she lost her heart, When they began to play, “I want to hold your hand, I want to hold your hand, I want to hold your hand. “And so my girl wrote a letter to The Beatles, Saying “You’re so fine. You can have my love to keep, Take this heart of mine. ” (Well) “Beatles, I’d give you anything, All of my true love. “But they wrote a letter back to her, Sayin’ that ain’t enough. You gotta send us twenty-five cents for an autographed picture, One dollar bill for a fan club card. And if you send in right away You get a lock of hair from our St. Bernard. (oh no) I want to hold your hand.
The song burst out of the gates and did well until Duchess Music, the publisher of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," refused to give permission to used the song in their song (which they had).
On April 11, 1964 Billboard magazine reported that Capital Records has stopped pressing the Four Preps single of "A Letter to the Beatles" because Duchess Music, the American licensor, refused to give Capital permission to cover a parody of an actual Beatles disk..."
For those (many) of you who have never hear the song, here you go.