'He changed music for ever': readers' tributes to Sir George Martin

Following the recent death of Sir George Martin, we asked you for your tributes and memories of the music producer

‘Please sign my copy of Sgt Pepper?’

In the 80s a Gramophone Magazine award was presented to Abbey Road studios for its contribution to music. It was presented by Sir George Martin. I was the producer of the awards ceremony, so I went up to him during the meal and said; “l can honestly blame you for both my taste in music and my sense of humour. Please sign my copy of Sgt Pepper?” He smiled and did so. He changed music for ever. David Clarke

A day in the life of George Martin
A day in the life of George Martin Photograph: Felipe Serafim Costa/GuardianWitness

‘He was very friendly and humble’

I was about 14 when I met George Martin at his Oxfordshire estate in 2002, when his gardens were open for charity. My mum and I drove along one weekend, both massive Beatles fans, not really expecting to see him there. We couldn’t quite believe it when we arrived and saw him sitting at a table in front of his house, reading a book and selling the occasional ticket. At that point we were too surprised and shy to speak to him properly. We spent the next hour or so admiring his beautiful gardens, trying to get a photo with him in the background from afar.

It wasn’t until we were on the way out that my mother mustered the courage to talk to him, asking him for a picture with me. He kindly obliged, taking off his sun hat and putting his arm on my shoulder for the photo. Afterwards we had a great conversation. He was very friendly and humble, saying something along the lines of he didn’t really do all that much in regards to the Beatles’ work. He also said that he was a big Beatles fan as well, but was “a little bit biased.” George Martin was an utter gentleman to us that day, both charming and funny. We look back on that day very fondly, and feel blessed to have met him. Jonathan Chadwick

‘I remember playing Magical Mystery Tour over and over again’

Thank you George Martin for supplying the soundtrack to my life. My mom was a Beatles fanatic, and I remember the thrill of playing Magical Mystery Tour over and over again on our living room stereo. One memory I will keep forever cherished is dancing in a circle to ‘Your Mother Should Know’ while holding hands with my mom and grandmother, all three of us laughing hysterically. Christina Kretchmer

‘Your Mother should know’ Christina’s mother Jacqueline and grandmother Arline share a moment
‘Your Mother should know’ Christina’s mother Jacqueline and grandmother Arline share a moment Photograph: Christina Kretchmer/GuardianWitness

‘All of a sudden we heard that beautifully deep voice’

In October 1996 I was moving from the States to take on a new job in London. When my wife and I were househunting, we went to the movies one night. As we approached the ticket window, I could make out a tall older man with white hair. It was George Martin with his wife. Turned out they were seeing the same film as us, ‘Emma’ starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Before the film the theatre was running an ad for Pictionary, and as luck, or fate, would have it, one of the pictures was a yellow submarine. And all of a sudden we heard that beautifully deep voice say those words out loud. We were as giddy as could be.

When my 50th birthday rolled around, my wife wrote to AIR Studios and related that story and said we had a replica poster for the film. They in turn asked her to send the poster to them. So on my birthday my wife presented the poster to me inscribed as follows: “Best wishes to Steven, George Martin.” ID5023324

‘He was smart, warm and funny’

My brother and I attended a multimedia presentation given by George Martin on the making of Sgt. Peppers at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, USA more than 15 years ago. He began telling us about himself, talked about how he came to work with the Beatles and gave a detailed account of the making of Sgt. Peppers, as well as less detailed accounts of life after Sgt. Peppers. He was smart, warm and funny. I believe he helped shape The Beatles. I’ve been a fan many years, but this made me go home feeling how lucky I was to be there, like I experienced something really special. Diana Jewell

The death of George MartinA cartoonist’s tribute.
The death of George Martin. A cartoonist’s tribute. Photograph: davekellly/GuardianWitness

‘He autographed everything everyone brought’

Sir George was at Harvard during his speaking tour of the 20th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper. I met him during a ‘meet and greet.’ He was delightful and autographed everything everyone brought. I won the door prize of The Complete Beatles Score autographed by him. I cherish this even more now. A real moment for me. Donna Bagdonovich

‘It is no exaggeration to say I was terrified’

In January 1987 I stepped into Air Studios on the first day of my employment there as a tape operator, what later became known as an assistant engineer. As soon as I walked into the reception at Air, I knew I had walked into a serious, professional studio and needed to up my game immediately. So I was nervous, insecure and fairly certain that (at some point) I’d be found out. At which point I was informed by the studio manager that my first session would be assisting George Martin. We would be working on Beatles material using the original 4 track masters.

With an older brother and sister to guide me, I had grown up with The Beatles. The first album I ever owned was Help. It is no exaggeration to say I was terrified. So that day found me in Studio 2, sitting next to George at the desk, with engineer Jon Jacobs, playing the Beatles masters, spooling those incalculably valuable tapes back and forth, unable to utter a single word. George, gentleman that he was, clearly saw how nervous I was and went out of his way to make me feel a part of the project, speaking to me, drawing me out of myself, telling him who I was and what I hoped to do as an engineer. And I found he was delighted to talk about the work he had done with the band, why we were doing what we were doing (preparing the first four albums for mono and stereo CD release), revelling in the stories and the memories behind the recordings.

I stayed at Air for a further 8 years, engineered on a number of occasions for George (he once let me loose on some original recordings by The Action); not every session was as remarkable as that one though many came close. I felt then that I had the best job in the word in the best studio in the world; a studio imbued with his philosophy of how to get the very best out of people. If ever anyone asks me “well, what does a record producer actually do?” I just say “what he did”. A true gentleman and an exceptional talent. We have much to be thankful for. SticksMeister5

George Martin in the sky
George Martin in the sky Photograph: Pietro Puccio/GuardianWitness

‘One afternoon I spied a beautiful Alvis car pulling up outside’

One of the most wonderful weeks of my life was spent at an audio engineer’s refresher course at the University of Surrey, where I met many of my peers from Iceland, South Africa, Holland, Ireland and Scotland. One afternoon, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a beautiful Alvis car pulling up outside and I knew that it was George Martin who was giving a talk to our assembled class. What an honour it was to have such a luminary address us. GogsiMcNic

‘I often change my addresses, but this card is always with me’

The songs of The Beatles became the soundtrack of my life from the early childhood. And I always knew that Sir George Martin was one of the Beatle wizards. In 2004, I wrote him a letter about how much the music produced by him means to me. And as an answer he sent me a card with an autograph. I often change my addresses and even the countries of residence, but this card is always with me. Ashot Grigoryan

The Beatle wizard
The Beatle wizard Photograph: Ashot Grigoryan/GuardianWitness

‘Who knows what The Beatles would have sounded like without him’

I didn’t care for music too much when I was young. My mother always had a great taste in music and still does. I remember when she would put on the early Beatles albums and their movies. I thought the Beatles were rather ‘cheesy.’ But one night, when I was 16, I listened to some Beatles songs that I had never heard before; Taxman and Doctor Robert come to mind. I am 20 years old now and Revolver is still my favourite album. I guess it’s Johns gnarly rock and then touched psychedelic sound in Tomorrow Never Knows and Pauls great ear for a pure listening experience in Eleanor Rigby.

The music of The Beatles has made the biggest impact on my life and forever will. In such a big way, maybe bigger than we will ever know, George Martin made the Beatles sound the way they did. His humour and musical intellect seemed to work wonders for the four lads from Liverpool. The grew bigger and bigger in the studio, always wanted their songs to sound that little bit different from mainstream music. Paul said that Martin was adamant that the song Yesterday should have strings. Of course Paul refused at first, I mean why wouldn’t he? The song is perfect in every way but Martin never settled for perfection. He wanted more than that. He wanted to stretch the listening and artistic experience of listener’s all over the world. And that he did. Who knows what The Beatles would have sounded like without Martin. No doubt they still would have made it but that’s not the point. The Beatles made it for all the right reasons musically and George Martin deserves all the credit in the world for the amazing music that he has produced with them. Thank you George <3 John AJ Gray

You can see all the tributes to Sir George Martin on GuardianWitness


Guardian readers and Tom Stevens

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Share your tributes and memories of George Martin
Sir George Martin, producer of the Beatles, has died aged 90. What impact did the producer’s work have on your life? Share your stories and tributes here

Guardian readers

09, Mar, 2016 @11:57 AM

Article image
'Fifth Beatle' music producer George Martin dies – tributes
Legendary record producer Sir George Martin dies at the age of 90

Claire Phipps and Nadia Khomami

09, Mar, 2016 @9:03 AM

Article image
George Martin: the man who changed pop forever (with a little help from his friends)
The music came from the Beatles – but it was George Martin’s willingness to step outside the boundaries of what was acceptable that helped make them special

Alexis Petridis

09, Mar, 2016 @3:30 PM

Article image
George Martin: From here to eternity

When George Martin gave a desperate Liverpool group one shot at glory, he brought Cliff Richard's chart dominance to an end. Jon Savage on how one year – and one man – changed pop for ever

Jon Savage

20, Apr, 2011 @8:30 PM

Article image
George Martin and the other Fab Four | Letters
Brief letters: John Lewis | George Martin | Price of a pint | Tories and the EU | Exclamation marks


10, Mar, 2016 @7:22 PM

Article image
Video: Sir George Martin discusses Spike Milligan, Sophia Loren and the Beatles

The celebrated producer and composer discusses Spike Milligan, Sophia Loren and the Beatles at an event for Deafness Research UK

Matthew Longfellow

19, May, 2010 @12:25 PM

Article image
Sir George Martin, Beatles producer, dies aged 90
Ringo Starr announces death of revered producer who signed the band to Parlophone and collaborated on almost all of their records

Will Woodward

09, Mar, 2016 @10:44 AM

Article image
The Guardian view on George Martin: instrumental value | Editorial
Editorial: The great producer/composer did many splendid things for the Beatles, but they owe him a particular service for introducing them to the arsenal of the orchestra


09, Mar, 2016 @7:13 PM

Article image
Crazy days for George Martin and the Temperance Seven | Letters
Letters: Our followers are today mostly dancing to us in care homes but there are still quite a few


11, Mar, 2016 @6:28 PM

Article image
Philip Norman on George Martin: ‘It could easily have been Lennon, McCartney and Martin’
The acclaimed Beatles biographer recalls his encounters with the studio genius who helped the band achieve ‘delirium in sound’

Philip Norman

12, Mar, 2016 @4:00 PM