The legendary George Martin, known as the “Fifth Beatle,” has died.
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr shared the news on Twitter just before midnight Wednesday, stating, “Thank you for all of your love and kindness George, peace and love.”
Martin, 90, was known for his deft touch as a producer and arranger, which was demonstrated in the 23 No. 1 singles he steered in the U.S.
Martin, who was knighted in Britain in 1996, is often credited with the ascension of the Beatles. He met Beatles manager Brian Epstein in 1962 when the band couldn’t get a record deal and, given his stature as head of EMI’s Parlophone Records, expressed interest in hearing the Liverpool lads.
After listening to their demo – despite being slightly unimpressed, something in the Paul McCartney-John Lennon harmonies caught his ear – he booked the band for a recording session at EMI’s Abbey Road studios that summer and signed them to Parlophone.
Throughout their career together, Martin and the Beatles possessed a shared musical mastery. His influence is heard in the lush strings on “Yesterday,” the cacophonous beauty in “A Day in the Life” and, most recently, in his brilliant re-imagining of Beatles songs, along with son Giles, for “Love,” the Cirque du Soleil production in Las Vegas that celebrates the Beatles’ music.