CNY Musician and Teacher Remembers Beatles' Producer George Martin

Mar 10, 2016

George Martin (center) with Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

  Many musicians in Central New York grew up on Beatles music and might well have been influenced by it.  Some of them are remembering the group’s long-time producer George Martin who passed away Tuesday. 

The song yesterday might point out one of George Martin’s most significant contributions to popular music.

“George martin was an incredible arranger, from the string quartet on Yesterday, which was an idea that Paul McCartney resisted.  And George knew how to talk him through it, rather than take no for an answer.  And he knew how to create something that wouldn’t strike Paul and the others as schlocky”

Bob Halligan Junior is a local musician and educator. He plays with the group Ceili Rain and teaches at Syracuse University's music schools.

  Bob Halligan Junior is a musician and songwriter, and adjunct professor who teaches a course on the Beatles at Syracuse University.  He credits Martin with all kinds of things that made their way into pop and rock music.

“Using feedback on records, the backwards thing having guitar solos or vocal played backwards, the George Martin orchestral arrangements, the use of Indian music (in Beatles’ songs)”

Halligan really liked the effect on Day in the Life

“Very gradual crescendo of all these instruments.  It’s sort of cacophonous; it’s not sonorous, meaning it’s not people playing chords or things that sound consonant.  It’s very dissonant and chaotic.”

Halligan notes engineers such as Jeff Emerick and manager Brian Epstein influenced the Beatles’ sound and marketing more.  He also notes Martin worked with two of the greatest song writers of the era in Lennon and McCartney.  Halligan actually met George Martin in the late 1990s

“In the 3 or 4 seconds I spent shaking his hand, I just said ‘Thank You’ and he was sort of taken aback by the simplicity of that and he just (said), ‘absolutely’.”

Martin died at age 90…a full life.  Halligan reflects what a full life he gave the rest of us – through music.