Saturday, July 12, 2008

GEORGE MARTIN

One of the numerous "Fifth Beatles" spoke at USC tonight. Beatles producer George Martin, at age 82, stood for two hours and delivered a fancy PowerPoint demo about his accomplishments. I have to admit that it was impressive to hear him talk, and I did learn a few things about his work.

However, I had heard much about his tremendous ego, and assumed that those comments were laced with a bit of jealousy at both his accomplishments and his sheer luck for being in the right place at the right time. But hearing him in person, it did strike me that he was a bit full of himself. More than once in his lecture he referred to "the five of us in the band," explaining that he "played piano in the studio." I suspect he did not do very much as a musician. I have no doubt that he did a lot as a producer and engineer. But I think it's unfair of him to claim himself in the same vein as the band.

He also spent a bit of time talking about the Cirque de Soliel show LOVE that is based on the Beatles music, after complaining about contemporary artists reusing material, specifically referring to George Lucas (an odd choice while speaking at USC).

However, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear the fifth Beatle (excluding Stu Sutcliffe, Pete Best, Brian Epstein, and various other studio musicians claiming the title). And for that, it was worth it.
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