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Legendary Beatles Producer George Martin Dead at 90 [Updated]

Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Update: Sir Paul McCartney has offered his comments on the passing of George Martin. His tribute to Martin can be read in the lengthy Facebook post below:

The man often referred to as “the fifth Beatle,” producer Sir George Martin, has passed away at the age of 90. Official details surrounding Martin’s passing have not been revealed, but Beatles drummer Ringo Starr announced the news in a pair of tweets. A Universal Music Group spokesperson also confirmed Martin’s passing to the Hollywood Reporter.

“God bless George Martin. Peace and love to Judy and his family. Love Ringo and Barbara. George will be missed,” he wrote in one tweet, while a second tweet featured a photo of the Beatles with Martin with the message, “Thank you for all your love and kindness George. Peace and love xx.” See the tweets below.

Martin signed the Beatles to their first record contract, looking to expand EMI’s Parlophone Records beyond the jazz and comedy albums they were specializing in at the time. While every other British label had passed on the band, Martin heard something he liked in the John Lennon and Paul McCartney harmonies, so he invited them to Abbey Road studios for a recording session.

Though Martin is mostly known for producing the band, he was also responsible for a lot of the group’s arrangements, conducting the string session for “Eleanor Rigby” and suggesting strings be added to “Yesterday.”

In the 1979 book All You Need Is Ears, Martin stated, “I must emphasize that it was a team effort. Without my instruments and scoring, very many of the records would not have sounded as they do. Whether they would have been any better, I cannot say. They might have been. That is not modesty on my part; it is an attempt to give a factual picture of the relationship.”

After the Beatles, he continued to work with Paul McCartney, receiving credits on such songs as “Live and Let Die,” “Ebony and Ivory,” “Say Say Say” and “No More Lonely Nights.” In addition to the Beatles, Martin worked with such rock artists as Jeff Beck, Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf, Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel and Sting among others.

In 1996, Martin was knighted and three years later in 1999 he received induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During his career, Sir George Martin won six Grammy Awards and he received credit on 23 No. 1 U.S. singles and 30 chart-toppers in the U.K.

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