Sir George Martin CBE was The Beatles’ producer, arranger and mentor, who signed them to EMI and worked on the vast majority of songs throughout their career.1
He went to a number of London schools as a child, including St Joseph’s elementary in Highgate and St Ignatius College in Stamford Hill. When St Ignatius pupils were sent to Welwyn Garden City as evacuees during the war, the Martin family moved from London and George enrolled at Bromley Grammar School.
His passion for music grew throughout his school days, which included a memorable performance from the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. Martin used his war veteran’s grant to enroll at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama between 1947 and 1950, where he studied piano and oboe, and the music of Ravel, Rachmaninov, Cole Porter and Johnny Dankworth. Coincidentally, his oboe teacher was Margaret Asher; she was the mother of Jane Asher, who had a relationship with Paul McCartney in the 1960s.
After graduating from Guildhall he worked at the BBC’s classical music department, and in 1950 joined EMI as an assistant to Parlophone’s Oscar Preuss. When Preuss retired in 1955, Martin took over as head of Parlophone. His greatest successes came with comedy and novelty records from artists including the Goons, Rolf Harris, Flanders and Swann and, most successfully, the Beyond the Fringe show, starring Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller.
In 1962, using the pseudonym Ray Cathode, Martin released an electronic dance single called Time Beat, recorded at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Keen to capitalise on the burgeoning UK rock ‘n’ roll scene, he began looking for a group to work with and the rest is history.