Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sir George Martin RIP

Sir George Martin died on Tuesday, aged 90. He produced much of the Beatles' classic catalogue, and has oft been called "the fifth Beatle". RIP.

Re-airing my archived post, from Sir George's birthday in January 2013:

3 January is the birthday of Sir George Martin, the man whose work with The Beatles helped propel their music to the iconic status it will likely retain forever. There's a good article about him at Salon by Frank Houston, from 2000.
"He was the only "fifth Beatle" who really deserved the title -- without him the '60s' greatest group might never have happened."

"With the exception of Phil Spector’s syrupy post-production on the “Let It Be” album, Martin produced every Beatles recording — from the first single (“Love Me Do”) to the last album (“Abbey Road”). Manager Brian Epstein, their most fervid salesman, may have given the scruffy Liverpudlians an initial gloss, but Martin gave them real artistic polish. He supervised the band’s transition from precocious boys to mature artists, harnessing all that wild genius into the most efficient and dazzling hit-making unit in modern pop.

In all he produced more than 700 recordings in a career spanning 50 years and genres as diverse as jazz, rock, classical, comedy and film soundtracks, with an unprecedented 30 No. 1 Beatles and post-Beatles hits to his credit in the U.K. Now Sir George, Martin may be the most influential and prolific record producer in history."

Sir George describes his job thus: “The producer is the person who shapes the sound. If you have a talent to work with — a singer together with a song — the producer’s job is to say, right, you need to put a frame around this, it needs a rhythm section to do this or that and so on,” he told the Irish Times in 1999. “He actually decides what the thing should sound like, and then shapes it in the studio. He may also be an arranger, in which case he may write the necessary parts … he shapes the whole lot. It’s like being the director of a firm.”

Beatles Historian Mark Lewisohn affirms that:
"George Martin was the perfect producer for the group -- creative, keen to experiment, willing to listen, an expert about music but nicely inexperienced in pop and rock, and a veteran of comedy-sound effects records." Indeed, George's experience with the Goons
[The Goons = British radio show starring stellar comic actors Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine, Martin produced comedy records with Sellers and Milligan] had provided him with a diverse repertoire of recording trickery, which came into play when the Beatles, worn by the pressures of live performance and touring, progressed in the studio to ever more complex tracks.......... Martin's patient nature was invaluable........ it took extraordinary diplomacy, exceptional musical expertise, limitless patience and visionary clarity to bring these ideas to fruition and greatness. Sometimes George's genius was knowing when to jump in and offer musical advice; sometimes it was knowing when to go down to the canteen and have a cup of tea, letting them get on with whatever they were up to."
Sir George's personality is said to be a blend of "giddy enthusiasm with cool intelligence and eloquence" and I'd add it has to include a shrewd business sense, and as highlighted above: patience and intuitive tact. His time of birth isn't available online, so I took a look at a 12 noon chart for his date of birth:

Lots to see here - I'll simply pick out what jumped out to me first, a network:

Ruler of his steady, businesslike Capricorn Sun, Saturn, is in emotional Water sign Scorpio and in harmonious trine to Uranus in Pisces. Uranus in Pisces is semi-sextile (helpful) to Venus, planet of the arts in Aquarius (ruled by Uranus and co-ruled traditionally by Saturn). Venus, planet of the arts, in Aquarius is in opposition (balancing) to Neptune (planet of creativity and ruler of Pisces) in Leo.

Yes....I know that sounded like a huge muddle. It is, but it reflects Sir George's mixed bag of undeniable talent, a linked network of astrological traits: steadiness, patience and business sense from Capricorn and Saturn, emotional intelligence from a Water link Pisces/Scorpio, a certain appreciation of quirkiness and fantasy from Venus in Aquarius, and Uranus in Pisces.

His natal Mercury (mental orientation) in easy-going Sagittarius harmoniously trines creative Neptune in Leo - more evidence of an ability to appreciate fantasy, softening and adding colour to a potentially more staid and rational Capricorn nature.

It's a pity we can't pinpoint his rising sign or natal Moon position, his birth time being unknown. Moon would have been in either Leo or early Virgo. Virgo would fit an obvious urge for perfection in his work; Leo would fit his draw to musical show-biz. Hard to say which is the more likely.

A SIDELIGHT on Son of Sir George

In the course of preparing this post I noted that Sir George Martin's eldest son from his first marriage, Gregory Paul Martin is, among other things (writer, actor, producer, playboy of the western world), and an astrologer. He looks uncannily like his Dad, but apparently they are not very close in anything but looks. From the pieces I've read, Gregory Paul prides himself on being "a bit of a lad", magnet to the fairer sex and all that. Born 21 January 1957 (1.33 AM) in London, England, he has Sun in Aquarius, Scorpio rising. That could be a difficult mix to handle, but his Libra Moon should help! His natal chart is available at Astrodatbank.

[In 2013 I followed a few leads to discover what kind of astrologer he is. His astrology website is no longer available and a link to a video talk by him in February 2012, with Dr. Hildegarde Staninger is also defunct - I wrote in 2013: "In her second hour, Dr. Staninger is joined by Gregory Paul Martin, Astrologer, as they discuss 2012, the Age Of Aquarius and the return Of Divine Feminine/Magdalene energy and why it matters. The eldest son of Beatles producer Sir George Martin, writer/producer Gregory has practiced astrology for 25 years reading privately for colleagues…"]


mike said...

I used to believe that musical talents were phenomenal beings, operating independently, able to bring the ethereal down to Earth, and they came ready-made for success. In the past decade or two, I've been introduced, mainly through documentaries, to the actual talents behind so many of these musical sensations...the managers, composers & song writers that wrote those hit tunes, or the producers such as Martin, and so many other behind-the-scenes' contributors. The art of music is very different than some of the other creative arts like oil painting, where it truly is the individual's creative talent brushed in oil colors onto the canvas.

Martin has a majority of planets in the third decant of signs. He has a string of semi-sextiles in every sign from Scorpio through Aries, with each making various aspects with the others. His S Node is on the edge of these semi-sextiles, but within orb, and Jupiter is within conjunction of the S Node, drawing Jupiter into the semi-sextiles. Jupiter conjunct the S Node often brings ease and good fortune this lifetime. His Neptune at 24* Leo (and perhaps Moon, depending on time of birth) aspects each of these...he was operating on all cylinders!

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, music is a collaborative creative art, even solo singers, song writers and musicians need to blend their own talents with talents of others, who can assist in bringing their creations to a wide audience sounding as good as (or better than) creators had imagined.

I'm not big on Beatles knowledge, but husband is, as are his family members. I've grown to enjoy a lot of their music, especially their later stuff, from the times when Sir George was involved. I've often said to husband that I believe George Martin's talent is responsible for longevity of Beatles' music, as much as talents of members of the band.

It's a rather nice chart I decided, and as you say, well integrated.

anyjazz said...

I think my daughter says it best: "If we didn't have him, we wouldn't have them."

Nice post TW. He didn't get enough credit, but I don't think he cared.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ Thanks. His joy and satisfaction came from "just doing it" I suppose, without any cravings for the adulation accorded to The Fab Four.