Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Rest In Peace, George Martin

The passing of George Martin is a sad day for Beatles fans, doubly so for those of us fortunate enough to know of the band Stackridge. It's hard to overestimate his influence on music and simply impossible to overestimate his influence on my own life. The music he helped The Beatles create in the studio are part of my earliest memories and yet are still capable of surprising and delighting me after all these years.

I have to think that he more than perhaps anyone was responsible for transforming Rock and Roll from pop musical for teenagers into an art form that was capable of exploring the depth of human experience. Albums, once merely a collection of songs in the same way a photo album contained a collection of photos, became an experience unto itself. The barriers between one song and the next became not so distinct, and from the separate pieces was woven something more than the some of its parts. From the work of George Martin emerged the idea of the concept album.

Imagine if you will some of your favorite Beatles songs produced by someone other than George Martin. Imagine In My Life without the piano solo, sped up and sounding like a harpsichord. Imagine Strawberry Fields had it all been recorded from one instead of two different takes. If it weren't for George Martin, I could hardly imagine the album covers of Revolver and Sgt. Peppers looking the way they did, as they were obviously reflective of the style Martin helped to create.

Listen to the track below and judge for yourself the stamp that George Martin put upon Rock music. And beyond the work he did on this particular track, his influence extended to an entire generation of musicians that helped push music's boundaries beyond perhaps what any other has done before or since.

As preposterous as this statement may appear, I don't think I can imagine my life without the influence of George Martin nor would I want to. The music of The Beatles and what followed in their wake has been the soundtrack of my life. But even more than that, my sense of humor, tastes in the visual arts, philosophy and appreciation for Eastern Religions have all come from an era that George Martin was instrumental in bringing about. Thank you for having been such a huge part of my life.

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