117: George Martin – Maximum Volume

August 12, 2017

Podcast, Podcasting

The first volume of a new biography detailing the life of the late Sir George Martin has just been published. Kenneth Womack has been responsible for a number of fine volumes covering aspects of the Beatles’ career, but with Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, he takes on a figure whose background and story have long lacked a detailed telling.

Backstage at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, Robert and Richard sat down with Kenneth to discuss what’s in volume 1, as well as George’ Martin’s working relationship with The Fabs.

Find Richard’s books here.
 Find Robert’s books here.
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    15 Responses to “117: George Martin – Maximum Volume”

    1. Christopher Cruz Says:

      If George Martin had had his way, it would have been “Paul McCartney and backing group”. In the Beatles, if somebody was pushed to the forefront (no matter who it was), the other three would never have gone for it.


      • Richard Adler Says:

        That is such a load of bull. George Martin understood the strengths and weaknesses of The Beatles and since it was up to him, he came up with a perfect blend of their talents.


      • Grahame Says:

        Whilst it’s true that Paul was GM’s favourite Beatle, as has been documented and also discussed on SATB, I can’t agree that Martin would have wanted Paul and his backing group. He was blown away by both of their songwriting abilities; Lennon was the tune Smith at the beginning as well and they were the four headed monster!! I loved the clip right at the end where Macca describes George Martin as an old pair of shoes – wonderful stuff


        • Cajun Queen Says:

          @ Grahame: yeah, I think you’ve got it about right; nothing in the mountain pf material I’ve heard or read lets me agree with Cruz, or (especially) Adler.


      • David M Says:



    2. Matt Demakos Says:

      You were talking about credit at the end. I couldn’t tell if you were suggesting that McCartney and Lennon should have given songwriting credit to the others or if they should have at least acknowledged their contributions in some way.

      The problem with songwriting credit is that it is a harsh scale. If there are two writers, it looks 50/50, if three 33/33/33, etc.

      It would be interesting if there was some way to officially credit someone without giving them too much credit. Howser/Slapper with Williams. This could mean Howser and Slapper are the main writers with some minor help from Williams. Or Howswer & Slapper with Williams. This would mean that Howser wrote a bit more than Slapper and Williams added some minor bit.

      Perhaps this is a bit silly but screenwriters do this, don’t they? There is a difference between the ampersand and the word “and” in screenwriting credit.

      There are many complexities on this issue though but I voiced some of them previously.

      Good show. I find it amusing that Martin needs a two volume bio. So many great writers, composers, scientists, and thinkers have just one volume. Martin two? Hmmm? As a Beatle fan, I love it, though.

      Matt Demakos


      • David M Says:

        If someone writes a song (tune + lyrics) then they can probably play it alone on a piano or a guitar. Somebody coming up with a drum part whether Max Weinberg or Ringo Starr is not contributing to the composition of the song. They are contributing to the final record and should be credited for that as a participating musician but not as a songwriter.

        Very good podcast, book sounds interesting. Just hope that he hasn’t pinned his whole story on the “social climbing” aspect. Elocution lessons were very common in those days (40s and 50s) as regional accents were not encouraged in many areas e.g. broadcasting. The Beatles were part of a movement that changed that along with writes/filmmakers etc in the 60s. May be harder for an American to understand regional issues in the UK and the class system. And The Beatles were not completely working class.


    3. Lucius Malou Says:

      It sounds like an interesting book and I look forward to reading it. Particularly intriguing in your conversation were the relationships between Martin, Norrie Paramor, Norman Smith, and Geoff Emerick. Also George’s tendency to freeze people out and take credit, etc. I hope you’ll do a show on Norman Smith.


    4. WingsFan2012 Says:

      Just catching up on the podcasts after a week at the Hyatt O’Hare for Beatlefest. Robert you were great on the panels! Robert also did a great Fest preview show with Jim Turano on WGN radio Chicago on August 10th. The website is http://www.wgnradio.com. It is now available as a podcast just search on the WGN Website! A great weekend it was!


    5. Paul McNulty Says:

      Wow! You three really got stuck in there…bit of a hatchet job methinks. I suppose a lot of what you say might well be true. Still, let’s not lose sight of the fact that as well as ‘social climbing’, Sir George dedicated his life to helping make beautiful music. Despite what John said, he even wrote some too. The Game – by Mary Hopkin for example – which would have fit nicely into this show…


    6. Bill Slocum Says:

      One aspect of George’s background that tied well into his Beatles involvement was his work producing Peter Sellers albums. Obviously George’s ability to capture humor in music was honed here, as was his development of technical effects for comic purposes. Martin even produced Sellers as “Lenny Goonagain” in a skiffle parody of Lonnie Donegan’s “Putting On The Style,” giving him and the Fabs a bit of commonality there.


    7. Mike P Says:

      What is the song played at the very beginning?


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