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Beatles Producer George Martin Dead at 90: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr React

By Cailey Lindberg cailey.lindberg@musictimes.com | Mar 09, 2016 12:14 PM EST

Beatles producer George Martin has died at 90. Sometimes referred to as the “fifth Beatle” and “Sir George,” the producer was a major source of support for the band in their early years and beyond. Martin was the one producer who would sign them and had a hand in nearly all of their tracksand brought in some of the band's most iconic arrangements, including “Yesterday” and “A Day in the Life.”

The news was first shared on Twitter by Ringo Starr . Following Ringo’s tweet, a representative from Universal Music Group confirmed the news of his passing.

Martin first discovered the Beatles when he was serving as the head of EMI’s Parlophone Records, which was largely jazz and comedy when he discovered the Beatles through their manager Brian Epstein. He signed them after every other label had passed on the foursome. Martin was also behind replacing original drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr according to Billboard.

In addition to producing the band, Martin was also the Beatles' arranger and had the idea to add string sections to their songs “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby.” He also served as a piano player on the song “In My Life” and was also behind the build-up in iconic track “A Day in the Life.” He was also an instrumental force behind the psychedelic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Paul McCartney has also spoken out about Martin following his death and recounted the composition of “Yesterday,” on his artist website, writing, “He took my chords that I showed him and spread the notes 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.”

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