GEORGE MARTIN – ARENA DOCUMENTARY

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George Martin What do the Beatles, Peter Sellers, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Rolf Harris, the Royal Air Force, and Drayton Park, all have in common? You don’t know? It’s George Martin you fool, the one time music producer for EMI Records. WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? Never heard of him you say? HA! Then why don’t you watch this BBC Documentary about this great man, first shown in 2011, and lasting for 90 minutes.




George Martin


THE STORY:
This Arena documentary recounts the life and times of legendary music producer, George Martin.

Now to aide them in this daunting quest, pre-recorded conversations have been captured between George and a plethora of 'special guest' whom he has worked with him in the past - Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, and Michael Palin, to name but a few. Moreover, there's also a couple of one on one interview’s with his son and his wife, Giles and Margaret, plus other famous faces that George has had a prior association with - such as Rolf Harris, Cilla Black, and Bernard Cribins. Moreover, to enhance the overall flavor of this George related program, there's archived footage, stock photography, taped walks, and previously George produced music to boot.

A GEORGE IS BORN: Amazingly enough, George was born in Drayton Park (East London), before moving on to such locations as Muswell Hill (North London) and Bromley (Kent). During this time, George acquired his love for classical music. And although this hobby was hindered somewhat when George was enlisted into the air force when World War 2 broke out. Afterwards, he continued this passion by attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he learnt Oboe and how to play the Piano.

A STEP UP THE LADDER: Once he completed his studies, George got a job at EMI Studio’s – working under Oscar Preuss, the head of EMI's Parlophone Records. Parlophone was a modest record label for its time, and only really catered for listeners of classical music and middle of the road jingles. But when Oscar retired – and promoted George to producer – all of that radically changed.

THE TIMES ARE A CHANGING: With the knowledge that George gleaned from Oscar over the years, he managed to produce a number of comedy records for the likes of Irene Handle, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, and Beyond the Fringe (Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and their ilk). And then, when this started to show some promise in the marketplace, other media entertainers came under his remit too – like Rolf Harris, Bernard Cribbins, and a little known liverpudlian band, whom nobody heard of before called the Beatles.

POW! AND THE REST IS HISTORY: Hit after hit after hit, George helped to hone this beat group right up into the stratosphere and beyond. And eventually, when the Beatles decided to split, he carried on with his own production studio in Montserrat – working with the likes of Duran Duran, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder. Unfortunately though, George’s venture into Montserrat was a somewhat fleeting one, and after a hurricane that destroyed his studio up there, he decided to set up shop in London next – where he still dabbles about in today - even if he is starting to go deaf.




THE REVIEW:
Now there are not many men who can say that they have actually worked with most of the noted English icons of the 20th century, apart from George Martin. Heck, most of the time whilst watching this Arena documentary, my mouth was just ajar with amazement, due to the amount of famous people who he has actually worked with! From Spike Milligan, to the Beatles, right up to Elton John and Duran Duran. George is obviously a landmark figure in English entertainment history, and he rightfully deserves all of the awards bestowed upon him.


The Goon Show


However, this point brings me around to this documentary in question – because does it do George any justice? Yes, I can safely say that is does. OK, structurally, it is not a liner narrative, as his story is kind of jumbled up within the way that the program is edited together. Moreover, for a 90 minute documentary, I would have liked to have seen a bit more about Georges time after the Beatles split – from the likes of Elton John and his ilk.

But on the reverse side of this issue, this program does tell us about George’s time prior to the Beatles in some length – and how George literary got himself out of the gutter (or Muswell Hill as it is generally known) and then worked his way into the position that he has achieved. It is a great story I can tell you; and one that I do not really think can be replicated today.


George Martin with Bern, Michael, Rolf, and Bald Man


Well, the reason why I say this, is because George is a man of his time – a better time for development. Fair enough, it was also a tough time, but it was still a time in which a man could become an assistant one minute, and a music producer the next. OK, I know that George did work hard to get this job. But I am also sure that many people who are assistants nowadays work equally as hard as he did, and will never be able to elevate themselves in the way that George has.

Anyway – enough of that – George Martin is still a great man, a man with artistic vision, clarity, a very nice way of speaking, and someone who has worked with some of the most creative an awkward people on the face of the Earth. Heck, from some of the things that I have heard about John Lennon, Peter Sellers, and Elton John, from other documentaries, the man is a saint!


Paul McCartney and George Martin


God bless you George, you are a great man, and your life has been presented very well in this great documentary – a must see for all fans of yesteryear.




THE RATING: A