In the early days of recording the word producer meant anything from getting the musicians to the studio to fully scoring and recording the session. Martin, a classically trained musician was placed in charge of comedy and pop records at EMI. He would soon transform recorded music when he took a chance on the Beatles.
Martins vast recording and musical experience along with his penchant for taking risks was a perfect fit for the Band. He soon recognized the talent he had signed was no ordinary "Beat" group and that the usual production would not work. He did this by getting around and defying EMI's rigid recording guidelines, the limitations of four track technology and a cavernous recording studio that would soon become a temple.
Martins great gift was his taste and his ability to keep the musical picture in focus. The Beatles decision to stop touring triggered a musical sea change that would create unheard of production challenges. The Beatles were no longer hemmed in by what they could produce onstage. They could now take the music to the limits of their imagination.
Martin was particularly skilled at leveraging the Beatles considerable financial clout to get the recording budget necessary for their later work. He would also contribute unique instrumental scores that highlighted the songs instead of smothering them. His major innovation was making the studio his instrument. He is largely responsible for the reputation and sound of Abbey Road.
Martin was by no means perfect. What made him different was that he consistently strived to correct mistakes with subsequent reissues.The latter part of their career became a production nightmare as the group began to battle amongst themselves over a variety of issues. The biggest problem was trying to satisfy everybody, sometimes it showed.
George Martins career with the Beatles and many other artists too numerous to mention has become the stuff of legend. His status and Knighthood are well deserved. Music and the craft of recording are better for his contributions.
The Groove continues...