My Abbey Road: Giles Martin #AbbeyRoad90

Today we feature a very special My Abbey Road with producer, arranger, and composer Giles Martin!

Hear Giles's fondest memories from a place very dear to his heart. He simply wouldn’t exist if his parents, Sir George Martin and Judy Lockhart Smith, hadn’t met here at Abbey Road in 1950.

During his illustrious career working with the likes of Elton John, Paul McCartney, Carole King, INXS, Meat Loaf, Hayley Westenra and The Rolling Stones, Giles has also produced & remixed The Beatles’ acclaimed special edition releases and the 2X GRAMMY-winning Beatles LOVE album.

Image by Alex Lake / C A Management

 

What does Abbey Road mean to you?

"What does Abbey Road mean personally to me? Well my mum and dad met here and fell in love, so without Abbey Road I guess I wouldn’t exist. My mum, Judy, started work as a secretary in 1948 and my dad arrived in 1950. As I grew up in and around studios I was always aware of Abbey Road, not only as the home of recording but also as a place where it all started for us as a family.

To be honest as a kid in the ‘80s I spent a lot of my time at the old Air Studios in Oxford Street (which is where Nike Town is today) as my father was based there. It wasn’t until The Beatles' first CD release that I came to Abbey Road. My dad was concerned that the albums were a little too bright sounding so he sent me along to listen. I’m not sure at that stage how well received a teenager coming in to judge the mastering engineers’ work was received, but I managed to get away with it. A while later my mum had found some old acetates in our loft so I brought them in to transfer. To my surprise one was the only version of Love Me Do with Pete Best playing drums; this later appeared on The Beatles Anthology. The records had been in the back of my car for a while so thank god I didn’t lose them…"

 
 

Your favourite memory?

"Back in 2003 I was brought in for a meeting with Neil Aspinal the head of Apple Corps, as the Beatles were thinking of doing a project with Cirque du Soleil. I’d just had some success working on a record and my father was unwell, so I think I was their last resort. I told Neil with the innocence and bravery of youth that I could create a show, or a concert The Beatles had never played just by using the existing tapes. He looked at me and said, “Ok, I’ll give you three months to try something and I’m not paying you”.

I started working in a small room at Abbey Road on what became The Beatles’ Love show and album. My dad recovered from his illness and came in to listen and, although he liked the idea, he thought I’d probably gone too far as no one had touched the Beatles’ music since it had been recorded. A playback was arranged for Paul and, although I was nervous and pretty convinced I was about to be fired, I’d really enjoyed working at the studio on such inspiring music. Paul heard a few things and immediately said he loved it, but I should go further… I remember my dad’s face was a mixture of surprise and pride.

After having similar reactions from Ringo, Yoko and Olivia Harrison, the concept was green lit and I was given a room to work in where I still work today. As I still believed that the concept of George Martin’s son mashing up the Beatles’ original recordings for a show in Vegas was sacrilege, (even though I was loving the work) I genuinely believed I’d be fired at any moment. I thought I’d better leave some legacy, so I had Allan Rouse and a team back up all of the master tapes and I sat and went through everything. My dad would come in a few days a week and we’d listen together to the creations I’d made so he could produce my work. The time we spent together at Abbey Road was time I’ll never forget.

The Love show was born out of so much love, I spent so much time learning from my dad and hearing the stories of how this great music was created. At that time only we and the Beatles were allowed to hear what was going on in my little room. I still thought that it was a mad idea, but it came out and not only did people like it, but it started my continuing journey with The Beatles and with Abbey Road."

 

Image by Alex Lake / C A Management

 

Your favourite recording?

"It’s so hard to choose. I have had so many amazing experiences working with so many different artists at the studio. While working on the Rocketman movie I bumped into Nile Rodgers’ rhythm section in reception and persuaded them to come into Studio Three where we recorded two songs with Taron Egerton singing live. I worked with Paul on an album in Studio Two and we ended up shooting the Queenie Eye video there with an extraordinary cast of celebrities. I also recorded Meat Loaf in the same room and more recently with Elton collaborating with Lil Nas X .

I think the the fondest memory I have is working with the great Carole King with my dad. I was only about 25 and it was really the first session where I was the producer and he was the arranger. She was absolutely brilliant. She sang live with a band of amazing musicians and we just laughed the whole time. It’s so important to remember how lucky we all are to do our hobbies as a job. I never take for granted that you can walk into an empty studio and leave a few hours later with music and memories that last a lifetime." 


 

Giles, Carole King and Sir George Martin in Studio Two

Giles, Carole King and Sir George Martin in Studio Two

 

Be sure to check out Giles and Sam Okell’s brand new Dolby Atmos mixes for The Beatles 1 album & the Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane single!

 
 
#MyAbbeyRoad #GilesMartin #AbbeyRoad90
 

Related News