George Martin passed away last week at the age of 90. His career was a lengthy one, but his legacy lies primarily in his work with the Beatles as one of the biggest influence's on how the iconic band molded their sound over the course of the Sixties. Still, Martin has produced incredible work with bands like Cheap Trick, America and Jeff Beck and has influenced generations of producers after him, like Rick Rubin. We asked our readers to rank Martin's work as a producer. Here are the results.
The wistful, folk-y, catchy Hearts is the perfect representation of Seventies FM rock. It produced the classic track "Sister Golden Hair" and brought Martin's influence and ear for simple pop songs into a new decade and outside of his work with primarily the Beatles.
The music of the Beatles served as the basis for the Cirque du Soleil show Love, and its soundtrack of remixes and re-imaginings of the band's classics was co-produced by Martin and his son Giles. Love was also Martin's final work as a producer.
Cheap Trick went experimental and ditched their long-time producer Tom Werman for their weird entry into the Eighties. The songs were a flamboyant predecessor the hair metal explosion that would take over the mainstream for the next decade.
Evoking a bit of fun between heavier releases, the band soundtracked the animated film Yellow Submarine with a pair of previously released singles and a few new, sweet songs. On side two of the soundtrack, Martin prepared orchestral arrangements for the film's score.
Rubber Soul was a transitional moment for the Beatles as they transformed from a pop group mixing covers with sleek, catchy originals into an album-oriented, artful rock band. The LP fused folk with R&B into an atmospheric and tender collection. With Martin at the boards, the same producer who helped them become the biggest hitmakers in the world also oversaw their most mature turn yet.
The Beatles responded to political turbulence in the world as the band's spiral towards their break-up began. Their self-titled double-album, known best as The White Album, was written primarily in India and saw the group become more bitter and satirical in their music. Though Martin's own relationship with the group was growing tense, he is still behind many of the instrumental arrangements and even contributed vocals to the sound collage "Revolution 9."
Jeff Beck's second solo album, and first under solely his name, was a powerful re-introduction of the blues guitarist. Martin oversaw the instrumental rock album, which features a cover of the Beatles' "She's a Woman" as well as a pair of tracks penned by Stevie Wonder.
With Revolver, the Beatles and Martin continued to establish themselves as artists who would push the boundaries of what popular music is capable of. Continuing what they started on Rubber Soul, the LP was psychedelic and arty while still remaining accessible and dynamic. Tracks like "Yellow Submarine" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" laid the groundwork for the trippy excursion, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Sgt. Pepper's showed off the more fantastical, surreal and avant-garde aspects of the Beatles, and it was heavily due to inspiration they gained from the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. "Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper never would have happened," Martin wrote in the liner notes of a Beach Boys box set. Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds." Beyond the influence of another popular band of the time, Martin's heavy experimentation with signal processing transformed the atmosphere and entire sound of the album, creating technical masterpieces like "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and the simple and gorgeous, "A Day in the Life."
Unsurprisingly, an album deemed by many fans to be the Beatles' best is also considered Martin's. Abbey Road was the final album the Fab Four (or, rather, Fab Five with the inclusion of Martin) recorded together. In spite of band tensions that escalated during the sessions for the Beatles' actual final album Let It Be, which was recorded prior to Abbey Road, the 1969 LP collected a solid representation of each member's unique personality and style. Along with classic Lennon-McCartney collaborations, Harrison and Starr also contributed their best song's, especially the former's romantic ballad "Something."