Before George Martin’s death on March 8th, the legendary producer and “fifth Beatle” aligned with PBS for an eight-part series titled Soundbreaking: Stories From the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music. For the series, which was five years in the making, Martin and his son Giles recruited over 150 artists to share behind-the-scenes stories about the art of recording.
The first two Soundbreaking episodes are scheduled to premiere March 14th at the SXSW Film festival with a PBS premiere set for November. Rolling Stone has the exclusive first look at the Soundbreaking trailer, featuring Ringo Starr, Elton John, St. Vincent, Bonnie Raitt and Don Was discussing their craft.
“My first meeting with the Rolling Stones, I ended up with Mick Jagger sitting here and Keith [Richards] sitting here, and they were both talking at the same time,” says Was, who first worked with the Stones on 1994’s Voodoo Lounge. “Keith said, ‘You sure you want to be the meat in this sandwich?'”
Directed and produced by Jeff Dupre and Maro Chermayeff, the series features 150 exclusive and original interviews with both artists and producers. Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, Dave Grohl, Questlove, Bon Iver, Willie Nelson, Beck, B.B. King, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Joni Mitchell, Debbie Harry, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels and Mark Knopfler are just some of the musicians interviewed in the series, while influential producers like Brian Eno, Nile Rodgers, Quincy Jones, Rick Rubin, Tony Visconti, RZA, Daniel Lanois, Mark Ronson and more talk about their studio wizardry.
“Soundbreaking afforded me the opportunity to tell the story of the creative process of so many of the artists I have worked with throughout my life,” Martin said in a statement. One episode of Soundbreaking, which is presented by Higher Ground, focuses on Martin’s indispensable work with the Beatles.
Subsequent episodes include Phil Spector’s exploration of the Wall of Sound, sampling in hip-hop, the art of the music video, Miles Davis and Marvin Gaye’s expanding of the LP, Stevie Wonder and Motown, Giorgio Moroder’s impact on dance music and the creation of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”
Following Martin’s death, the show’s creators compiled a tribute to the producer of various Soundbreaking artists discussing Martin’s legacy.
“As a co-creator, Sir George Martin was the inspiration and intellectual force behind the Soundbreaking project,” Higher Ground founder David Langstaff said in a statement. “He was involved with all phases of the project and was immensely proud of the way these great stories were being told. The fact that so many extraordinary singers, songwriters, producers, and other artists came together to tell their stories is a testament to the respect and love they hold for Sir George, and the widespread recognition of his impact on the evolution of recorded music.”