The Beatles song that physically destroyed George Martin

the beatles

There were a few ideas from The Beatles that George Martin couldn’t handle. Most of the Beatles had a primitive approach to rock and roll music at the beginning of their career. However, Martin served as the fifth member of the group in the studio. It often helped them turn their ideas into a reality on tracks like ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever‘. Martin was physically defeated by the band’s creative ambitions by the time he finished working on one song.

Martin could only do so much for the group, despite the great music he composed for them. By the time the group had begun work on The White Album, the constant tension between every member had caused Martin to walk out on the project. He took a vacation in the middle of the sessions while the rest of them pressed on.

Working on ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ when the band first became a studio-only creation, they were on the verge of musical brilliance. The song would become the mission statement for the group’s next venture. They dipped their toes into studio experimentation once more.

Paul McCartney came up with the idea of making tracks by a fictitious band to push the outfit beyond traditional pop songs. McCartney was directing them in certain directions. But John Lennon eventually came away with one of the album’s highlights, “Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite.

Lennon wanted to create a piece that made the listener smell the sawdust of the circus. It was to capture the sound of an English fairground. Martin would eventually use various tape loops for the song’s breakdown section. He used stringing bits and pieces of tracks together to create a kaleidoscope-like effect on the final tape to achieve that sound.

As a final flourish, Martin would include a harmonium on the final track, working for hours to perfect the sound for the bridge. Martin was far too exhausted by the time he finished to continue for the rest of the night.

Engineer Geoff Emerick recalled in The Beatles Recording Sessions how exhausted Martin was after working for nine hours. He said, “You have to pump the harmonium with your feet, and he was pumping away for four hours.” After that, he collapsed onto the floor, spread-eagled and exhausted.”

Martin finally got the right take after all that work. He combined the various tape loops at the end to make the song sound like it’s slowly grinding to a halt. That wouldn’t be the last surprise from Sgt Pepper. Though, the band eventually brings in a massive orchestra to create a controlled sense of chaos towards the end of ‘A Day in the Life’. Martin may have been able to follow his muse wherever it went. But no track got to its final stage without a little bit of elbow grease.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like