There’s no question that The Beatles introduced new styles of writing, performing, and especially recording music in the early 1960s. Much of their success comes from the hands of George Martin, the record producer who crafted the inimitable sound of The Beatles. Otherwise known as the “fifth Beatle,” Sir George Martin was the first producer who helped shape the Beatles’ incredible body of work over the course of seven years. A new book by Kenneth Womack, Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, traces the early life and career of Sir George Martin, and is currently on bookshelves today as Martin’s first-ever biography.
It was in the summer of 1962 that the Beatles pulled up to EMI on Abbey Road with their beat-up gear, shaggy hair and Liverpool accents to play for the record label. This was the recording session where Sir George first heard the songs “Love Me Do,” “P.S. I Love You” and “Ask Me Why.” Although George wasn’t exactly impressed with their musical skill and quickly became exasperated with the band’s seeming lack of studio professionalism, he was instantly charmed by their wit and charisma. That day in June marked the beginning of a groundbreaking partnership that would influence popular music for years to come.
Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin is the first volume of the first full-length biography of Sir George Martin. Kenneth Womack, author and Beatles scholar, provides readers with a detailed account of Martin’s collaborative work with “the fab four.” It traces George’s working-class childhood in North London, where he lived with his parents and his older sister Irene, his early years as a scratch pianist, his life in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II and his groundbreaking work as the head of Parlophone Records, when Martin saved the company from ruin after making his name as a producer of comedy recordings. These popular recordings established George as an incredibly innovative A&R leader.
Maximum Volume takes readers behind the scenes and reveals George’s painstaking efforts to prepare the Beatles’ unique sound for the British music marketplace. From his unlikely discovery of the band in 1962 to the production of the landmark album Rubber Soul, this captivating biography shares how George’s humble beginnings and his musical influences shaped his career as the producer behind the band’s sound. Now, more than 50 years later, Sir George’s singular stamp remains on popular music as successive generations discover the magic of the Beatles.
Kenneth Womack’s books include Long and Winding Roads, The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles, The Beatles Encyclopedia, and New Critical Perspectives on the Beatles. He delivers some 50 invited Beatles talks a year to audiences across the nation, while sharing his insights with media of all stripes, including NPR, ABC, CBS, NBC, and Voice of America. Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin is available in bookstores everywhere and can also be purchased online here.