INTERVIEW: George Martin on PBS show “On the record.”

A lot of people are celebrating genius as of late.  George Martin is the hallowed recipient of such praise, and rightfully so.  You all know how I feel about George Martin.  To me, he is the only member of the extended Beatle family who truly deserves the title of fifth Beatle.  He was a creative force that really guided the boys, and provided innovative spark to the group.

I could listen to George Martin tell stories all day.  He’s one of those people who I would love to crawl inside his head and just feel those memories and absorb them for but a moment.  It would be outstanding.  Anyway, I digress, George Martin has been interviewed for a new PBS show, “On the Record.”  The show is not coming out for some time, but he did have a little Q & A with the press recently, and even the answers here are nothing less than insightful.

Here’s what we’ve read.

There aren’t many people in today’s music world that you could call a living legend, but Sir George Martin is definitely one of them. If you’re not familiar with the Grammy award winning and Oscar nominated Martin, he’s the creative force that produced, co-produced, and arranged the music on all of The Beatles’ original recordings, which includes every Beatles hit you’ve heard over the years. As well, Martin creatively helped to turn three James Bond themes into mainstream hits with his contributions and work on From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, and Live and Let Die. In addition to founding Associated Independent Recording (AIR), Martin has also worked with several of the music world’s top artists and most recently remixed all of The Beatles songs used in the live show Love, which runs in Las Vegas.

At last week’s TCA press tour in Los Angeles, Sir George Martin sat down at the PBS panel to talk with the press about his latest project, On Record: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, a story about … how the most universal mass medium of the 20th century marked the emergence of pop culture worldwide; how the competition between the urban middle class and the rural working class came to define popular music and in so doing, made possible the breakthrough of minority cultures into mainstream consciousness. Hosted by Martin and narrated by Kevin Spacey, On Record: The Soundtrack of Our Live traces several of music’s most influential moments featuring interviews with a variety of notable names in music. Although The Soundtrack of Our Lives doesn’t debut on PBS until 2010, Sir George Martin was more than happy to talk about the upcoming series, his legacy with The Beatles, and the bands that impress him in today’s music world.

Sir George Martin on the birth of the record:

“I’m very delighted to be a part of this project. I think it’s such an important one. On Record: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, it’s really the soundtrack on my life. You see recording has been with us for rather more than a hundred years, but the first fifty years were pretty primitive stuff because when Berliner designed his gramophone record and patented it in 1898 and started the gramophone company that was the beginning of the world on record. And if he hadn’t done that can you imagine what we’d be like without recorded sound? It’s impossible to think of. Forget your iPods, they don’t exist. Forget your records, they don’t exist. The only way you can hear music is to hear music when it’s performed live, and for most people that meant very rarely. So way back in Beethoven’s time the amount of people that listened to his music, you could fit into this room. There weren’t many people at all. So he changed everything. The guy who invented the recording and his design of records, which was a disc which could be pressed out in vast quantities stayed with us for fifty years in unaltered form. Except that half way through, around about the time I was born, they did introduce electricity and microphones. Up to that time it was purely physical stuff.”

Martin on the second phase and working with PBS:

“When I went into Abby Road in 1950 for the first time, we were still working on old fashioned wax discs. We didn’t use tape, it was too noisy. And most of my records at that time – classical records, really – were made in this way. So I’ve kind of lived through the second half of the development of the record, and it’s been a fascinating experience because everything changed quickly throughout that time. I’m particularly delighted that PBS is involved in this project because it’s the ideal company who are going to put our program out in a way I think is right. Because it’s not only instructional and educational, it’s not going to be boring, it’s going to be entertaining. It’s going to be fun and PBS is like that. PBS does such good programs. I’ve been a fan of PBS long before I thought of this, [and] got involved in this particular series. And I really don’t like American television very much – sorry to tell you this – but I love what PBS does and I watch it all of the time. So I think I’m so pleased about this, that we’re involved with them.”

READ the entire interview here.

Source: The Dead Bolt