Updated at midday
TRIBUTES ARE BEING paid to George Martin, following the British music producer’s death at the age of 90.
Best known for his work with the Beatles, he is credited with helping to bring out the talents of the Liverpool four-piece.
He signed them up after hearing a demo recording in 1962, was so essential to the band’s success that he was nicknamed the ‘Fifth Beatle’.
“God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family love Ringo and Barbara. George will be missed,” Ringo Starr tweeted this morning.
In a statement on his website, Paul McCartney said he was “so sad to hear the news”.
“I have so many wonderful memories of this great man that will be with me forever,” he added.
“He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family.
“If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George.
From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.
“RIP George Martin. I’m so gutted I don’t have many words. Thinking of Judy and Giles and family,” John Lennon’s son Sean wrote on Instagram, referring to Martin’s wife and one of his four children.
His son Giles also posted a tribute to his dad.
Martin was born in January 1926, a carpenter’s son from north London.
After serving in the Second World War, he studied at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and began playing the oboe in bars and clubs around London.
His first job was in the BBC’s music library.
He then joined the record label Parlophone, a division of EMI, and rose to become its head by 1955 at the age of just 29.
Martin quickly realised the Beatles’ potential after first hearing them in 1962.
“I liked them as people apart from anything else and I was convinced that we had the makings of a hit group,” he told Melody Maker magazine in an interview.
But he added that: “As composers, they didn’t rate. They hadn’t shown me that they could write anything at all.”
The band’s first single “Love Me Do”, which reached number four in the charts in October 1962, “was pretty poor but it was the best we could do,” he said.
That song was followed by “Please Please Me”, which made number two, and “From Me To You” in April 1963 – their first chart-topper.
Martin also composed scores for the Beatles films “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Yellow Submarine”.
After the band split, he built the Air Studios on the Caribbean island of Montserrat and went on to work with other artists including Bob Dylan, Sting and Elton John.
He also recorded two of former Beatle Paul McCartney’s solo albums, “Tug of War” and “Pipes of Peace”.
Martin was also the first composer other than John Barry to compose the soundtrack for a Bond movie – which he did for 1973’s Live and Let Die, reuniting with Paul McCartney for the title track.
With reporting from © AFP 2016