Sir Paul McCartney has paid tribute to Sir George Martin after The Beatles producer died on Tuesday (8 March). Sir George produced almost all of the Fab Four's catalogue and was known as the "Fifth Beatle" for his influence on their work.
The news was revealed on Twitter by one of the two surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr, who wrote: "God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family ... Thank you for all your love and kindness George peace and love xx."
Writing for his official website, McCartney described Sir George – who also produced the star's solo albums Tug Of War and Pipes Of Peace – as a "fine gentleman" with a "gentle bedside manner".
"I'm so sad to hear the news of the passing of dear George Martin. I have so many wonderful memories of this great man that will be with me forever. He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me," McCartney wrote.
"He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family. If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George. From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I've ever had the pleasure to know."
Martin started work at EMI's Parlophone label in 1950 and achieved his first Number 1 more than a decade later with The Temperance Seven in 1961. He signed The Beatles in 1962 after meeting their manager Brian Epstein and went on to have a hand in all of the band's albums, including 1995's Anthology and the Cirque du Soleil collaboration Love in 2006.
McCartney credited the musical arrangements on Eleanor Rigby and Live And Let Die to Martin and recalled how he convinced the singer/songwriter to record Yesterday differently. The finished version shot to Number 1 in the charts and became the most covered song of all time – seven million times according to The Guinness Book of Records.
"It's hard to choose favourite memories of my time with George, there are so many but one that comes to mind was the time I brought the song Yesterday to a recording session and the guys in the band suggested that I sang it solo and accompany myself on guitar," McCartney wrote.
"After I had done this George Martin said to me: 'Paul, I have an idea of putting a string quartet on the record.' I said: 'Oh no, George, we are a rock and roll band and I don't think it's a good idea.' With the gentle bedside manner of a great producer he said to me: 'Let us try it and if it doesn't work we won't use it and we'll go with your solo version.' I agreed to this and went round to his house the next day to work on the arrangement.
"He took my chords that I showed him and spread the notes out across the piano, putting the cello in the low octave and the first violin in a high octave and gave me my first lesson in how strings were voiced for a quartet. When we recorded the string quartet at Abbey Road, it was so thrilling to know his idea was so correct that I went round telling people about it for weeks.
"His idea obviously worked because the song subsequently became one of the most recorded songs ever with versions by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and thousands more."
Sending condolences to Martin's wife Judy, their children Giles and Lucy as well as their his grandchildren, McCartney said: "The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music."