Paul McCartney has led the tributes to late Beatles producer Sir George Martin, describing him as a “second father.”
The passing of the man who discovered the Fab Four and produced all of their hit singles was confirmed this morning by his family and Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.
McCartney has since posted a lengthy tribute to Martin online, in which he recalls the producer’s vision for the band’s music and his gentle approach in the studio.
McCartney says: “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.”
John Lennon’s son Sean said he was “gutted” to hear of Martin’s death, while Lenny Kravitz, Liam Gallagher and Steve Hackett are among the other figures from the world of music to pay tribute.