By James H. Burns: When I was a little boy in the 1960s, listening to the AM radio, I was transfixed by “Ferry Cross the Mersey,” the Gerry and the Pacemakers hit, written by Gerry Marsden, and produced by George Martin, who passed yesterday, at the age of 90.
Those strings, and ambience, and that of other songs produced by Martin (as well as other music of the era!), made me feel as though I were going to another world, seeing, or feeling, another time.
Martin’s far more famous collaboration, of course, was as the producer, and sometimes arranger, for the Beatles, working with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. It was in the spring and summer of 1973 that I made the dual discovery of the legendary band, and Star Trek.
Of course, I had been familiar with both beforehand! (Can one have been of any age in the 1960s, and not known the Beatles?)
But it was then that I fell in love with both. To me, there was a direct correlation between the wonderful new worlds of Trek, and other science fiction and celluloid endeavors, and the music of the Beatles, Those sweeping harmonies and amazing bits of magic were to me the happy soundtrack of not just our years, but another universe, albeit one existing parallel with our own!
(And most often, the tunes were simply just good, lovely fun!)
Martin’s work was also a part of such fantasy films as the Beatles’ BBC television special, Magical Mystery Tour (much maligned, originally, but rarely given credit as one of the clear precursors to Monty Python), and 1968’s animated Yellow Submarine.
He also composed the scores for such films as the James Bond opus, Live And Let Die, The Optimists of Nine Elms and Pulp.
In a story that may be apocryphal, when beginning work on Live And Let Die, Martin reportedly told one of the Bond series producers that he could probably get Paul McCartney to compose and record the title track for the movie.
The producer said, “Oh, great. Have the kid send me a demo,” apparently not recognizing the name!
Happily, many of their realms of melody continue to endure in so many hearts at home, and indeed have been played, among the stars above.