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Fifth Beatle Sir George Martin dies at 90

08:45 09 March 2016

Sir George Martin with his Knighthood at Buckingham Palace in 1996. Picture: Neil Munns/PA

Sir George Martin with his Knighthood at Buckingham Palace in 1996. Picture: Neil Munns/PA

PA/Press Association Images

Sir George Martin, the record producer known as the Fifth Beatle, has died peacefully at his home, his manager has confirmed.

The 90-year-old, who grew up in Drayton Park, Highbury, helped The Beatles achieve global success as the head of the Parlophone record label after hearing their demo tape in 1962.

His manager Adam Sharp paid tribute to him as “a true gentleman to the end”.

In a statement Mr Sharp said: “The family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and messages of support.

“In a career that spanned seven decades he was an inspiration to many and is recognised globally as one of music’s most creative talents. He was a true gentleman to the end.

“The family ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”

Sir George studied at St Ignatius College, Stamford Hill and the Guildhall School of Music, playing oboe professionally before joining the recording industry.

Ringo Starr led tributes to him for his “love and kindness” to the Fab Four through the years.

As well as posting a photo of Sir George with the band, he tweeted: “God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family love Ringo and Barbara. George will be missed.”

Sean Ono Lennon, son of John and Yoko, and David Cameron also honoured the legendary producer, who picked up two Ivor Novello awards, six Grammys and the Grammy Foundation’s Leadership Award in 2008.

In 1965 he was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the music in A Hard Day’s Night and in 1984 he received the Brit award for outstanding contribution to music, having been named best British producer at the first Brit awards in 1977.

Up until his death, he continued to write music, work with charities and advise broadcasters, according to the website for the independent music publisher he set up in 1969.

His son Giles is also a producer who has worked at Abbey Road studios, where Sir George helped the Beatles perform the world’s first live global broadcast.

Andrew Gardner, chairman of Islington Archaeology and History Society, said he and his peers looked up to Sir George, a carpenter’s son.

He said: “Everyone of my age, and many younger, grew up with the influence of George Martin in our lives, on vinyl, later cassette, then CD and now online.

“He helped remaster the lot, including from original 8-track mono recordings. He once said of the Beatles, ‘When I first met them, Love Me Do was the best they could give me.’ He nurtured, grew and developed that raw talent into what we still play today.

“My father was later with Decca, the label that had turned down The Beatles, and George Martin’s technical skill as a producer and composer came to be felt throughout the industry.”

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