The Beatles unseen: George Martin’s real reason he signed ‘not great’ early Fab Four WATCH | Music | Entertainment


Back in 1962, The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein convinced George Martin to consider signing John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and original drummer Pete Best. Up until that point the record producer had been successful with comedy records and had had a No 1 with the Temperance Seven, but not so much with pop music. Now his son Giles has shared a personal unseen family video of his father, who died in 2016, telling his granddaughter the real reason that he signed The Beatles.

Giles, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a music producer, tweeted: “I don’t normally share anything personal but this my dad from a while back explaining to my daughter he signed The Beatles. Ordinary people do extraordinary things. Great decisions are made for the simplest reasons. ‘I figured if I like them this much other people might too.’”

In the clip, Martin shared a conversation he had having first been told about the Fab Four.

The late fifth Beatle said: “There were four of them. And I said, ‘Who are they? What are they?’ And he said, ‘They’re a group we call The Beatles.’ Well, that’s a silly name for a start. Who’d ever want a group with the name beetles?” However, he was told it wasn’t beetles but Beatles with an ‘A’ like beat.

Martin, who presumably was talking to the band’s manager Brian Epstein, continued: “I listened to what he said and I said, ‘Well, I’ll have to hear them first of all.’”

Martin had originally met Epstein on February 13, 1962, and listened to a tape of the Fab Four that had been recorded at Decca Records, the label that had turned the band down for a contract.

Listening to their music, the record producer had found the band “rather unpromising” although he did like Lennon and McCartney’s vocals.

Martin and Epstein met again on May 9 at EMI Studios, and a deal to sign The Beatles was struck without Martin having actually met the band, let alone see them play live.

Although, at first, he didn’t sign the contract until he’d heard the Fab Four audition for him. In the video, he said: “So he sent them down from Liverpool, which is quite a long way and I met them in London.”

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On June 6, 1962, The Beatles auditioned for Martin in studio three of EMI, although he wasn’t present until he came to listen to the recordings of four original songs at the end of the sessions.

However, the record producer simply didn’t think The Beatles’ original songs were good enough, saying: “When I listened…it was ok but it wasn’t brilliant…”

He then asked the band if there was anything they personally didn’t like, to which Harrison replied: “I don’t like your tie.” After this, Lennon and McCartney joined in with the humour, which is ultimately what won Martin over.

Martin told his granddaughter in the clip: “But the magic bit came when I started to get to know them because they were terribly good people to know. They were funny, they were very clever…and they were the kind of people that you liked to be with. And so I thought, ‘If I feel this way about them, other people will feel this way about them, so therefore, they should be very popular if I made records with them.” A few weeks later, Ringo Starr replaced Best as drummer and the rest was history.



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