George Martin, known as “the fifth Beatle” for his work in shaping the band that became one of the world’s most influential music forces, has died at the age of 90.
He was considered the most successful music producer ever, cited in the Guinness Book of Records for having more than 50 No. 1 hit records over five decades in the United States and Great Britain alone.
“God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family… George will be missed,” Starr, the Beatles’ drummer, said on Twitter.
Starr followed the message by posting a black and white photo of the Fab Four with Martin, saying “Thank you for all your love and kindness George.
Martin’s management confirmed his death.
“We can confirm that Sir George Martin passed away peacefully at home yesterday evening, Tuesday March 8,” it said.
Martin served as producer, collaborator and mentor to Beatles John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Starr.
Sean Ono, John Lennon’s son with Yoko Ono, posted a picture of Martin on Instagram, with the caption: “R.I.P. George Martin. I’m so gutted I don’t have many words.”
Tributes from the music world poured in on Twitter. Lenny Kravitz said: “The legends are really going home!” Boy George said: “George Martin. Gentleman and legend”, while Mark Ronson said Martin was “the greatest British record producer of all time.”
Britain’s culture minister John Whittingdale said Martin was “the elder statesman of British pop music and creative genius.”
During his six-decade career in the music industry, Martin produced almost all of the Beatles’ recordings and also worked with Gerry & the Pacemakers, Jeff Beck, America, Cheap Trick and other acts.
Martin started producing records for EMI’s Parlophone label in 1950. He was noted for his comedy recordings with the likes of Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Beyond the Fringe and got his first Number 1 with The Temperance Seven in 1961. He signed The Beatles in 1962
The young band members were rough around the edges, but Martin saw their commercial promise and with them helped revolutionise the art of popular music recording.
Over the coming years, he helped score, arrange, and produce many of the band’s biggest hits, including “Yesterday”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Love Me Do.” His 1979 autobiography, “All You Need Is Ears,” chronicles his discovery of the Beatles and their creative process.
Martin was knighted in 1996. In 2006, working with his son, Giles Martin, he helped develop the Beatles-inspired Cirque du Soleil show “Love” in Las Vegas, which went on to reap his two most recent Grammys.