Sorry to be a bummer but there’s been a couple of deaths that I believe effect every music fan, and every Canadian…Let’s start there.
R.I.P. Sir George Martin
The man who gave the Beatles their first recording contract. He produced MOST most of their music aside from Let it Be.
His musical inspirations began early with the piano. After he left the Navy in London in 1947, he even studied the Oboe. He even played piano on the Beatles track It’s My Life. He once worked in the BBC’s Classical Music Department and for EMI Records. He would go on to become the head of A&R for Parlophone Records where he recorded all sorts of jazz, lounge, and comedy records. He signed the Beatles in 1962 having a say in decisions for everything from Love Me Do to Abbey Road. Can you believe he used just an ol’ four-track recorder for Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band?
Outside of the Beatles, he has been a producer for Kate Bush, Jeff Beck, Cheap Trick, Celine Dion, Elton John and the producer for solo work by both Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney.
With many Grammy awards on his resume, he was even nominated for an Oscar for A Hard Day’s Night. We call him Sir George Martin because he was knighted in 1996.
On the topic of the Beatles demo Brain Epstein persuaded him to listen to, from Rolling Stone:
“The recording, to put it kindly, was by no means a knockout,” Martin wrote in his 1979 memoir, All You Need Is Ears. “I could well understand that people had turned it down. But there was an unusual quality of sound, a certain roughness that I hadn’t encountered before. There was also the fact that more than one person was singing.”
Speaking about his suggestion to add orchestral instruments on ‘Yesterday’:
“My approach [to the strings on ‘Eleanor Rigby’] was greatly influenced by Bernard Herrmann and his film score for Psycho,” Martin said in a 2012 interview. “He had a way of making violins sound fierce. That inspired me to have the strings play short notes forcefully, giving the song a nice punch. If you listen to the two, you’ll hear the connection.”
On the topic of the use of Drugs…
“Drugs certainly affected the music…But it didn’t affect the record production because I was producing. … I saw the music growing, but I rather saw it like Salvador Dalí’s paintings. I didn’t think the reason for it was drugs. I thought it was because they wanted to go into an impressionistic way.”
A few other great insights on Sir George Martin from Rolling Stone:
One of the many remarkable things about Martin is that he managed to produce highly complex, layered pieces of music like “I felt that was the album which turned the Beatles from being just an ordinary rock & roll group into being significant contributors to the history of artistic performance,” Martin wrote in his memoir. “It was the watershed which changed the recording art from something which will stand the test of time as a valid art form: sculpture in music, if you like.”
In 2011, Martin looked back fondly on his time with the Beatles. “I think they’re so damn good they’ll be with us for generations, into the middle of the next century,” he said. “They’re just great musicians and great writers, like Gershwin or Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are there in history, and the Beatles are there in history, too. They’ll be there in 100 years, too. But I won’t be.”
Sir George Martin, Beatles producer, a second father to some as Paul McCartney says….passed away yesterday evening. Ringo Star tweeted the news out:
God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family love Ringo and Barbara George will be missed xxx 😎✌️🌟💖☮— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) March 9, 2016
A tribute from Sir Paul McCartney on his website:
I’m so sad to hear the news of the passing of dear George Martin. I have so many wonderful memories of this great man that will be with me forever. He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family. If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George. From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. It’s hard to choose favourite memories of my time with George, there are so many but one that comes to mind was the time I brought the song ‘Yesterday’ to a recording session and the guys in the band suggested that I sang it solo and accompany myself on guitar. After I had done this George Martin said to me, “Paul I have an idea of putting a string quartet on the record”. I said, “Oh no George, we are a rock and roll band and I don’t think it’s a good idea”. With the gentle bedside manner of a great producer he said to me, “Let us try it and if it doesn’t work we won’t use it and we’ll go with your solo version”. I agreed to this and went round to his house the next day to work on the arrangement. He took my chords that I showed him and spread the notes out across the piano, putting the cello in the low octave and the first violin in a high octave and gave me my first lesson in how strings were voiced for a quartet. When we recorded the string quartet at Abbey Road, it was so thrilling to know his idea was so correct that I went round telling people about it for weeks. His idea obviously worked because the song subsequently became one of the most recorded songs ever with versions by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and thousands more. This is just one of the many memories I have of George who went on to help me with arrangements on ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Live and Let Die’ and many other songs of mine. I am proud to have known such a fine gentleman with such a keen sense of humour, who had the ability to poke fun at himself. Even when he was Knighted by the Queen there was never the slightest trace of snobbery about him. My family and I, to whom he was a dear friend, will miss him greatly and send our love to his wife Judy and their kids Giles and Lucy, and the grandkids. The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music. God bless you George and all who sail in you! Paul
More on Paul McCartney’s website HERE
R.I.P. Rolland Fox Rolland Fox, the father of Canadian icon Terry Fox, passed away late last night at 80 years old, according to a statement from the Fox Family. He passed peacefully while listening to Hank Williams less than two months after we heard he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had promised his family he would fight his cancer with courage and a bit of humour. He started smoking at 19 and didn’t quit until 1986 simply because his brother dared him to! Even better, he ran 16 km the following year! Hear I am perfecting the ol’ 5k… Rolland joins his son Terry once again, the youngest person ever named to be Companion of the Order of Canada.
Nominate a Fabulous Canadian Woman for Our Next Bank Note in 2018
The federal government embraced International Women’s Day by putting their money where their mouths is! Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the Bank of Canada will introduce a new bank note in 2018, to feature a woman’s face. No one has been selected for the honour yet, and you’re invited as Canadians to submit recommendations on the Bank of Canada website until April 15th! A couple of requirements – The great Canadian lady of choice must have passed at least 25 years ago, be Canadian, and not be a fictional character. The woman should embody leadership and achievement that benefits all of the people of Canada. Nominate Someone Here For some ideas, have a read through this column from The Toronto Starwritten by Jennifer Hunter on 10 Influential Canadian Women: