Beatles owed much to George’s genius

George Martin and the Beatles. EMN-160314-101638001
George Martin and the Beatles. EMN-160314-101638001
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Iconic music endures, standing the test of time like classic films or great literature.

The Beatles, whose long-time producer George Martin died last week, were certainly icons.

The music of the Beatles has provided the soundtrack to millions of people’s lives since Love Me Do was released in 1962.

Their ability to craft songs which feel profoundly personal – as if they are speaking to each of us directly – yet also echo through the ages as sing-out-loud, stadium sized anthems was remarkable.

The blending of the melodic and poignant, through a career which saw several reinventions in style, is exceptional.

None of this phenomenal impact would have been possible without the technical expertise and insight of George Martin, known as the ‘fifth Beatle’.

Classically-trained, he devised the unforgettable string arrangements on Eleanor Rigby and Yesterday – two of the band’s strikingly innovative hits.

Martin refined the Beatles’ sound, which itself owes a discernible tuneful debt to an appreciation of their parents’ generation’s music.

Whether musical talent like Martin’s is innate or taught is an age-old debate, without a definite answer – perhaps both are true.

Certainly, helping children to develop a love for music is a shared responsibility; indeed, I encourage my sons to learn instruments, and the pride felt when hearing them play is a particular wonder.

Schools have a major part to play in teaching music as part of a well-rounded education, which is why the Government is committed to a rigorous music education – insisting that it remains a compulsory part of the national curriculum.

This year, the Government is investing £75million in a network of music education hubs for young people to have access to whole class ensemble teaching for free.

Lincolnshire Music Service must, again, back inspirational teachers like the ones that have so benefitted my sons.

Teachers rightly speak of the importance of music education, which combines creativity with intellectual rigour, and helps pupils to gain confidence and to work together.

It’s right that this fundamental access to music in schools remains free – the love of music should never be allowed to become the preserve of only those who can afford it.

George Martin’s melodious gift was so special that his impact on popular music will last long after his death.

Hopefully, a young boy or girl today picking up a guitar, learning the cello or playing the piano, can follow in his footsteps. After all, Yesterday counts but Tomorrow Never Knows.