As the music world mourns the death of the Beatles’ producer and “fifth member” George Martin, many of the artists who had the privilege of working with the producer have penned tributes to Martin. Ultravox’s Midge Ure, who worked with Martin on the synthpop band’s 1982 LP Quartet, tells Rolling Stone, “George was the quintessential Englishman, the maverick producer and the loveliest man ever. A teacher and father figure all rolled into one. The world is a better place for having had him in it.
“After working with legendary German producer Conny Plank on two albums, Ultravox were looking for a radical change and approach to recording and Sir George Martin was in our sights,” Ure said. “We made the album Quartet at his Air Studios in London and in Montserrat and for the first time ever, we finally let someone have a say in the arrangements and structure of the music and only someone with the gravitas he had would have been allowed to do that.”
Ure added of Martin, “He had a huge interest in the synths and drum machines we were using and treated them in the same way he would treat any orchestral instrument, he saw no divide in their ability to create sound, only in the way the sound was generated. He embraced every genre of music and bettered most of them.”
Ure, who served as producer on albums by both Ultravox and Visage, isn’t the only studio wizard to remember Martin, who influenced generations of future producers. Longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich tweeted, “George Martin, my hero. So sad. The definitive record producer … such a gentleman and was so kind to me. He did it all first … and best.”
The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, who continually pushed himself artistically after hearing the Martin-produced Beatles albums, tweeted, “The records that George Martin made with the Beatles were some of the greatest ever made & they inspired me to greater heights. Love & Mercy.” Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s longtime producer, wrote, “With respect to George Martin I am wearing a tie to work today.”
“I dread to think where we would all be without you as a leading light. A true pioneer,” tweeted Stephen Street, who produced the Smiths and Blur. “Heaven must have needed an Angel.”
“He was a uniquely special man that we had the incredible honor and pleasure to create music with for many years in our early career,” America’s Dewey Bunnell & Gerry Beckley tell Rolling Stone. “He loved the adventure of making music and consequently made each project unforgettable. He was a mentor who guided the process of recording the songs we brought to the studio with a sensitive creative touch, always aware of the fragility of the ideas we were trying to express in a song. We are forever grateful for his guidance during that time in our career. We have all lost a truly special man who touched all of our lives. Sir George Martin will never be forgotten.”
Rick Rubin previously told Rolling Stone of Martin, “George was the zenith of the mountaintop. He continues to be the inspiration for those of us striving to make timeless music. And he was as tasteful and fine of a man as he was an arranger and producer. The best of all time.”