The Beatles Behaved Like a ‘Bunch of Schoolboys’ When George Martin Wasn’t Around

George Martin was out sick when The Beatles were recording ‘In My Life.’ They proved they couldn’t get far without his help.

The Beatles began working with George Martin just before their careers took off. He guided their music and helped them grow as artists. He also kept them focused in the studio. According to audio engineer Geoff Emerick, the band couldn’t concentrate when he wasn’t around. They acted like children when Martin was out with food poisoning.

The Beatles were on their worst behavior when George Martin was out sick

While The Beatles worked to record “Yellow Submarine,” Martin called out sick with food poisoning. The band used this as an opportunity to let loose in the studio.

“As it happened, George Martin was out sick with food poisoning the night we began work on [‘Yellow Submarine’]; he sent his secretary, Judy, along to keep an eye on things while I took the helm,” Emerick wrote in his book Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles. “George’s absence clearly had a liberating effect on the four Beatles — silliness that George Martin would not have tolerated — so rehearsals took up a lot more time than the session itself.”

Eventually, John Lennon told his bandmates to focus, which only prompted more laughter.

“It was Lennon who finally got over his attack of the giggles and took on the role of responsible adult, admonishing the others, ‘Come on, it’s getting late and we still haven’t made us a record!’” Emerick wrote. “This, of course, only had the effect of sending everyone into another fit of laughter. But eventually they settled down and began recording the backing track.”

Geoff Emerick didn’t think The Beatles saw George Martin as an equal

While Martin kept the band in line, Emerick didn’t think Lennon or Paul McCartney ever saw him as an equal. McCartney could push Lennon to be better in a way that Martin never could have gotten away with. Emerick believed this was proof that while they appreciated Martin’s assistance, they didn’t think of him as one of them.

“Certainly George Martin couldn’t get away with that,” Emerick wrote. “If he dared try, they would bite his head off. There was never any doubt in my mind that Paul and John viewed George Martin as a helpmate, not as their equal.”

The producer made many important contributions to the band

Despite what Lennon and McCartney might have thought of Martin, he made important contributions to the band’s music. He helped them in the studio and also made crucial suggestions about their music. For example, when they wanted a classical solo for “In My Life,” they turned to Martin.

“We wanted a solo in ‘In My Life,’” McCartney said on the This Cultural Life podcast. “George Martin was our go-to classicist ’cause George had been trained classically. So, if ever we needed an orchestration or a part written down, he could just do it. It was a very handy skill ’cause we couldn’t. So, we’d say, ‘Could you make a solo of this?’ and he went home, and we’d said, ‘It’d be nice if it was like Bach.’ So, that was enough of a brief for George.”

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