Jeremy HerigstadSpecial to the Free Press

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March 14, 2013
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The Fab Five?!?!

Beatles fans the world over have heard mention of an oft overlooked "Fifth Beatle" for years and years. The only problem is that no one can seem to agree on who that person is. Suggestions from music historians and even The Beatles themselves have ranged from original drummer Pete Best, original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, manager Brian Epstein, PR manager Derek Taylor, record producer George Martin and even legendary guitarist Eric Clapton.Without any hesitation, this writer would dub record producer Sir George Martin the fifth Beatle. Not only did Martin produce nearly every Beatles recording but Martin's musical expertise helped fill the gaps between the Beatles' raw talent and the sound they wanted to achieve. Most of the Beatles' orchestral arrangements and instrumentation (as well as frequent keyboard parts on the early records) were written or performed by Martin in collaboration with the band. It was Martin's idea to put a string quartet on "Yesterday," against McCartney's initial reluctance. Another example is the song "Penny Lane," which featured a piccolo trumpet solo. McCartney hummed the melody he wanted, and Martin wrote it down in music notation for David Mason, the classically trained trumpeter. For "Eleanor Rigby" he scored and conducted a strings-only accompaniment and later stated the score was influenced by the score for the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, "Psycho."Sir George Martin began piano lessons at age 8 but only took eight lessons because of a disagreement between his mother and the piano teacher. After that, Martin explained that he had just picked it (the piano) up by himself. "I remember well the very first time I heard a symphony orchestra. I was just in my teens when Sir Adrian Boult brought the BBC Symphony Orchestra to my school for a public concert. It was absolutely magical. Hearing such glorious sounds I found it difficult to connect them with 90 men and women blowing into brass and wooden instruments or scraping away at strings with horsehair bows." Martin attended the Guildhall School of Music, where he studied oboe and piano. Upon graduation he worked for the BBC's classical music department and in 1962 met with other Fifth Beatle candidate manager Brian Epstein. Martin initially felt that Epstein's group was "rather unpromising, but liked the sound of Lennon and McCartney's vocals." It's a good thing Martin heard their potential and was then able to add his own symphonic elements.It would seem appropriate to this writer to also mention a sixth Beatle or possibly add an asterisk to Sir George Martin's title of the Fifth Beatle*. Without the assistance of classically trained musicians, those cherished and hummable Beatles tunes might have never come together. It is that perfect melding that was the inspiration for the Classical Mystery Tour, the live symphonic show that combines the songwriting talent and musicianship of The Beatles with the brilliant arrangements of George Martin. The Classical Mystery Tour will be performing with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6.


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 14, 2013 01:46PM Published Mar 14, 2013 01:45PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.