George Martin Biography (Volume One) Out Now

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Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin—The Early Years, 1926-1966, which is advertised as “the first volume of the first full-length biography of Sir George Martin,” has been published by Chicago Review Press. The biography is written by Kenneth Womack, author and Beatles scholar, who “provides readers with a detailed account of Martin’s collaborative work with the Fab Four,” according to a press release. (Order here.)

The book, it says, “traces Martin’s working-class childhood in North London, where he lived with his parents and his older sister Irene, his early years as a scratch pianist, his life in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II and his groundbreaking work as the head of Parlophone Records, when Martin saved the company from ruin after making his name as a producer of comedy recordings. These popular recordings established Martin as an incredibly innovative A&R leader.”

Maximum Volume, the release continues, “takes readers behind the scenes and reveals George’s painstaking efforts to prepare the Beatles’ unique sound for the British music marketplace. From his unlikely discovery of the band in 1962 to the production of the landmark album Rubber Soul, this captivating biography shares how George’s humble beginnings and his musical influences shaped his career as the producer behind the band’s sound. Now, more than 50 years later, Sir George’s singular stamp remains on popular music as successive generations discover the magic of the Beatles.”

Related: A “lost” George Martin interview from 1971

George Martin and friends, featured on ‘Soundbreaking’

Martin produced a total of 30 #1 U.K. hits and 23 in the U.S., including songs for such artists as Gerry and the Pacemakers and America. Martin’s productions include British Invasion artists Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, the Fourmost, Jeff Beck, America, Cheap Trick and others. He also produced Shirley Bassey’s theme song for the James Bond film Goldfinger and the Paul McCartney and Wings theme song (as well as composing and producing the score) for the Bond film Live and Let Die.

Martin published an autobiography, All You Need is Ears, in 1979. He passed away on March 8, 2016, at age 90.

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Watch a brief profile of Martin from the 8-part Soundbreaking documentary

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