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Thursday 22 March 2018

Sir George Martin contender for position as 'fifth Beatle'

Sir George Martin in the 1960s when he produced the Beatles' records
Sir George Martin in the 1960s when he produced the Beatles' records

Record producer Sir George Martin's influence on The Beatles should not be underestimated but a number of people could be described as the fifth member of the band, music experts have said.

Martin King, director of The Beatles Story museum in Liverpool, said Sir George, original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, the group's first drummer Pete Best and their manager Brian Epstein could all be considered as the Fifth Beatle.

He told the Press Association: "You can't underestimate the influence George had with 'Team Beatles.' In many ways he was the guy who conducted the orchestra.

"If you turn back to recording studios in 1962, people wore white lab coats. Sir George had the ability to get the Beatles to be on the right wavelength.

"If Paul, John and George were touched by God with their musical ability, Sir George helped turn that into a three-minute song. He had musical prowess.

"With Strawberry Fields Forever, you're hearing sounds you're unfamiliar with. It was experimental.

"What was in John and Paul's head, Sir George was able to get the product out."

Mr King said Lennon's criticism of Sir George for supposedly claiming too much credit for the band's sound after breaking up came at a time when he was being "brutally honest about a number of people".

"He was really saying the music came from the musicians, not from the producers," Mr King said.

"In truth, all of the Beatles recognised what George brought to the party."

The Beatles Story, which includes handwritten notes from Sir George during the recording of Help!, is planning a book of remembrance at the attraction in Liverpool's Albert Dock.

Dr Veronica Skrimsjo, a teacher on the Beatles, popular music and society masters degree course at Liverpool Hope University, said: "There have been lots of different suggestions (for the Fifth Beatle).

"The key point is how Sir George was able to communicate the Beatles' ideas to audiences. That's where he played the most important role.

"At times they came in with ideas that were not necessarily coherent or easily understandable; he got what they were after."

Press Association

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