Maximum Volume 1926-1966 & Sound Pictures 1966-2016
by Kenneth Womack
This month’s book selection is a two-volume set.
If you are a Beatles fan or if you are fascinated by biographies of people who put a dent in the world, this series on producer George Martin is one of the best.
And I have read virtually ALL the books about the Beatles and Mr. Martin.
Not only does author Kenneth Womack track George Martin from his childhood to his time with the Fab Four, but also his success past the Beatle years. Which is impressive.
There are so many riveting stories found in these pages. Including the fact George was having an affair with someone at EMI Studios (Judy Lockhart Smith – who would become his second wife). Martin’s boss was so appalled by this inter-office scandal that – as punishment – he assigned Martin to oversee the Beatles audition.
Which Martin did reluctantly.
He didn’t think the Beatles’ song writing was much good, but he was mesmerized by their personalities and humour.
The rest is music history.
The books also explore how Martin helped shape the Lennon/McCartney alchemy, calling Lennon’s soulful voice and McCartney’s sweet vocals as “the lemon juice against the virgin olive oil.” Womack picks out the sometimes hidden aspects of Martin’s technical wizardry in the studio. As well as his ability to translate and implement the Beatles’ often vague and psychedelic musical requests.
As Womack says, a fist is stronger than five fingers.
And that was the magic of George Martin and the Beatles.
Top 3 Reasons To Read This Book:
1. It’s the inside stories – like how McCartney was amazed at how Martin immediately recognized the genius of Lennon’s Tomorrow Never Knows before he did. And Martin’s take on George Harrison – explaining how he had more than power in the group, he had influence.
2. The interesting story behind the decision to issue the double-A sided single containing Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane – a record Martin says was the best single in history and why he calls it the biggest mistake of his career.
3. And – the accumulation of George Martin’s successes before, during and after the Beatles – including producing three James Bond theme songs, producing the band America and Elton John’s Candle in the Wind for Princess Diana – the last single Martin would ever produce.