I’ve always been puzzled by the legend of George Martin’s contribution to the Beatles’ success.
I had never doubted it…. until he produced the soundtrack for “Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band”, the movie. The soundtrack was not merely awful. It was pure and unadulterated dreck. It was so bad that I could not help but begin to wonder if his contribution to the Beatles had been exaggerated in some way. It is very, very hard to imagine that the same mind that produced the segments with Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees and Aerosmith on the soundtrack also helped shape “Eleanor Rigby” or “Girl” or “Penny Lane”.
Was it all a misunderstanding? Maybe people underestimated Lennon and McCartney’s shares of the credit.
After the Sgt. Peppers’ debacle, he also produced Neil Sedaka, Cheap Trick, Little River Band, and even Celine Dion, all with notably unremarkable results. If George Martin was the musical genius everyone says he is, surely he would have had some great results with some other bands. He really did not. We surely would be saying today something like, “Well, Neil Sedaka generally sucked, except, of course, for that album produced by George Martin, which was brilliant”. Or “Cheap Trick must thank their lucky stars for George Martin every night: that album he produced saved their careers!” We do not say such things because his work with those artists never raised them above the mediocrity that was theirs forever.
So tell me again, who was responsible for the Beatles’ success? How about the Beatles.
And was it because they practiced for 10,000 hours, as Malcolm Gladwell would have it? No, it was because they were talented. And they practiced.
[whohit]The Over-rated George Martin[/whohit]