In 1966, the Beatles and George Martin stood at a creative crossroads. The bandmates had started to feel stunted in their musical growth, so they started engaging in brash experimentation both inside and outside the studio. The Beatles had also expanded their demographic considerably beyond teens and young adults, leading to new fans of all ages. With more recognition, the band began to feel like prisoners of their fame and grew frustrated by the culture’s inability to grasp the meaning behind their work. Martin worked with the band as they navigated the changing landscape of mid-1960s rock ’n’ roll. Martin’s work ethic and studio savviness earned him a long-lasting partnership with the Beatles that continued throughout the later years of his life. In Sound Pictures, readers will discover how Martin helped the bandmates grow as musicians and found the transformative sound that the Beatles are known for today.
Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, The Later Years 1966-2016 (Chicago Review Press, September 4, 2018) is the second volume of the first full-length biography of George Martin. Kenneth Womack, author and Beatles scholar, provides a detailed account of Martin’s collaborative work with “the fab four” as they advance beyond the success of their earlier recordings. Sound Pictures takes readers behind the scenes and reveals George’s diligent efforts to consolidate the Beatles’ fame in the face of the sociocultural pressures of the time, most noteworthy being the “Beatles are more popular than Jesus” scandal. It also includes stories of Martin’s interactions with the band, including when John Lennon, who hated the sound of his own voice, requested that Martin tweak his vocals: “Make me sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop.”