All You Need Is Ears Summary & Study Guide

George Martin
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All You Need Is Ears Summary & Study Guide Description

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"All You Need is Ears" by George Martin is a fascinating look at the world of legendary British record producer George Martin. Martin is probably best known for being "The Fifth Beatle," the one who produced The Beatles' earliest records and gave them much needed direction as well as a chance at signing with a major record label.

Martin is a humorous and humble man, relaying tales beginning with his childhood and through to the late-1970s, long after he and The Beatles had parted ways. The book is not entirely about The Beatles by any means. Instead, it starts with Martin's love for music and interest in learning the piano. Martin learned that it was possible to make a living writing and playing music. A big push came in the form of Sidney Harrison, a professor at the Guildhall School of Music. At the school, Martin continued to learn the art of classical music and piano and also took up the oboe.

After school, Martin knew that he had to get a day job. While working at the BBC Music Library, Martin received a call from Oscar Preuss, head of EMI's Parlophone records.

Martin worked at Parlophone for 14 years, starting as Preuss' assistant and ending up as the president of the company. Along the way, Martin was seen as a maverick that would do just about anything the executives would permit. Martin made a name for himself making comedy records and constantly looking for new acts.

It was Brian Epstein that introduced Martin to The Beatles. Their working relationship is legendary. Martin talks a lot about those days but focuses mostly on the technical side of the business. Martin gives detailed explanations of how the music was recorded and what methods were employed. The evolution of the processes over the years is amazing and Martin never seems to lose his enthusiasm for the music or the industry.

Fed up with EMI, Martin took the staff from the Parlophone's main department and formed a new company, Associate Independent Recording (AIR). Martin left it up to Epstein if he wanted the group to stick with EMI or come over to the new company. Either way, there would not be hard feelings. The Beatles stuck with EMI for a time but it was arranged that Martin would still produce their work.

Martin's relationship with The Beatles finally came to an end but with no animosity on either side. Martin went on to continue to work with various artists as well as in films.

Martin continues to be intrigued by the recording industry and all it has to offer while realizing that it may be time to let the next generation take over.

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