Friday, May 18, 2012

Mr Martin Prepares the Ground

May 18,1962

Mr Martin back in the day
Today, somewhat straitlaced George Martin starts the legal paperwork for signing the Beatles to a recording contract.  He wants to have the necessary documents in hand for everyone to sign, if they "pass the audition" when they do finally get into Abbey Road Studios.   Organizational efficiency is not usually the strong suit of creative types.  George Martin is already proving to be a happy combination.

Mr Martin has a strong background in music, having studied piano and oboe at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama after a stint in the Royal Navy at the end of the war.  He started his professional career at the BBC and then moved over to EMI (Electric and Musical Industries).  EMI is a pioneer in the "vertical  integration" business model, having fingers in all the recording pies, professional recording and consumer playback equipment as well as production and marketing of recorded performances.

He is assigned to EMI's Parlephone label and is now mostly producing comedy and novelty records for the likes of Peter Sellers and the Goons.  (Monty Python's Flying Circus owes a lot to the humor invented by the Goons.)  Abbey Road is his factory floor where the production takes place.  At the same time, classical recording is also taking place across the hall for such as the London Symphony Orchestra to be marketed on EMI's prestigious Columbia label.

Parlephone was originally a high status German imprint that was acquired by EMI and has since fallen on harder times.  Mr Martin is now casting around for something to revive the label.  Could this rock and roll band from the Northern provinces be the answer to his quest?

The Beatles are nearing the end of their short residency in Hamburg and are now excited to know that a recording session with Parlephone is "in the works".

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