DON’T PASS THIS BY

The Bea­tles’ White Al­bum gets gussied up by Ge­orge Mar­tin’s son for its 50th an­niver­sary

Toronto Sun - - SHOWBIZ - JANE STEVEN­SON

Pro­ducer Giles Mar­tin wasn’t even born when his fa­mous Bea­tles pro­duc­ing fa­ther Ge­orge, aka The Fifth Bea­tle, wres­tled with The Fab Four while mak­ing their 1968 epony­mous dou­ble-disc oth­er­wise known as The White Al­bum.

But the 49-year-old couldn’t dis­agree more with John Len­non’s state­ment that the al­bum, which got a 50th an­niver­sary deluxe re-re­lease yes­ter­day, was the sound of The Bea­tles break­ing up.

The White Al­bum saw Ge­orge Har­ri­son emerge as an ac­com­plished tune­smith and Ringo Starr pen his first ever song, Don’t Pass Me By — even though the drum­mer did quit for more than a week be­fore re­turn­ing to a stu­dio filled with flow­ers — but the group would make three more records be­fore their 1970 split.

“I don’t think John Len­non is right,” said Mar­tin. “I al­ways thought that. And my fa­ther (who passed away in 2016) would al­ways make a ter­ri­ble gri­mace when­ever any­one said, ‘You know what my favourite Bea­tles al­bum is? It’s The White Al­bum.’

“I looked, out of mor­bid fas­ci­na­tion, to see what I could find of them ar­gu­ing on tape be­cause I thought it was im­por­tant. But if you lis­ten to the con­ver­sa­tions they’re hav­ing on the out­takes, it’s far from the truth that they are shout­ing at each other. They’re ac­tu­ally sup­port­ing each other.”

The 50th an­niver­sary edi­tion of The White Al­bum is remixed in stereo and 5.1 sur­round au­dio and in­cludes 27 early acous­tic de­mos — the fa­mous

Esher De­mos made at Har­ri­son’s bun­ga­low Kin­fauns in 1968 in Sur­rrey, Eng­land, (some were on An­thol­ogy 3)— and 50 ses­sion out­takes. We caught up with Mar­tin re­cently down the line from Abbey Road Stu­dios in Lon­don, where he worked on the project with mix en­gi­neer Sam Okell.

So how do you see this al­bum now?

I think The White Al­bum was the band re­ject­ing the process that they’d been used to. And I think they cer­tainly os­tra­cized my dad dur­ing that process. And they cer­tainly os­tra­cized the team they were used to work­ing with. I also know from, bizarrely, all th­ese peo­ple who write books now about their time with The Bea­tles they’re the same peo­ple who didn’t want to work on Bea­tles ses­sions be­cause they were pretty toxic for any­one be­ing there who wasn’t a Bea­tle.

Do you think Len­non was just be­ing provoca­tive in his state­ments?

John, fun­nily enough, called up my fa­ther in 1980. My dad went to go and see him. And John did an in­ter­view. I think it was for Play­boy or some­thing where he did this vit­ri­olic in­ter­view where he told ev­ery­one that my dad ru­ined The Bea­tles. And my dad goes, ‘Why did you say th­ese things John?’ And he goes, ‘I’m sorry Ge­orge. I was just high, you know.’

So will this re-re­lease cor­rect that mis­per­cep­tion?

Lis­ten, I wasn’t there. I wasn’t even born. I don’t be­lieve in, and none of The Bea­tles, by the way, be­lieve in sugar-coat­ing stuff. As you can tell by Paul’s re­cent in­ter­views the mood he’s in. He’s happy to

“I have seen and smelled so many feet. I have to tell you, I re­ally love it ...” — Sarah Jes­sica Parker spends as much time as pos­si­ble as­sist­ing cus­tomers in her New York bou­tique for her SJP by Sarah Jes­sica Parker footwear line.

say how it was. (He told GQ that he and Len­non and three other friends mas­tur­bated to­gether as boys, among other things.)

Were you shocked by his re­cent rev­e­la­tions?

Lis­ten, he prob­a­bly said it with a smile on his face, know­ing Paul. But he’s kind of naughty, Paul. He’s still naughty. He’s a re­ally in­tel­li­gent man. He’s a re­ally bright guy, Paul. Never un­der­es­ti­mate him in a con­ver­sa­tion. Some­times he’ll say things and you just think, ‘Oh, God.’

How in­volved were Paul and Ringo in this process?

The only peo­ple in­volved in lis­ten­ing to the mixes were the

Bea­tles and their wives. That’s it. I con­sider (Paul and Ringo) to be my bosses, which they are. (Paul) has a place near Abbey Road and also I see him. I was over in New York mix­ing his con­cert at Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion so I get in­volved in his things any­way and he’s al­ways been in­cred­i­bly kind to me, so there’s a trust there.

And Ringo?

One of my jobs is head of sound for (elec­tronic com­pany) Sonos, which is based out of Santa Bar­bara so I will go and give (L.A.-based) Ringo a call and say, ‘Lis­ten, I’ve got the mixes with me.’ And we’ll come and sit and lis­ten to them. It’s their mu­sic and es­pe­cially The White

Al­bum be­cause it was a band record, if that makes sense. If they’re not happy, they’re the peo­ple that re­ally count.

Should fans be the most ex­cited about the in­clu­sion of all the Esher De­mos?

I lis­tened to them and said, ‘Th­ese are re­ally su­per cool.’ Be­ing as stupid and crass as I am, I ini­tially said, ‘They sound like MTV Un­plugged Bea­tles. This is amaz­ing!’ For some­one who does ar­chive mix­ing, this is like a gift. So, yeah, that’s su­per ex­cit­ing for me.

Is it true your dad went on va­ca­tion while mak­ing this al­bum?

My dad loved ef­fi­ciency. He was a very mea­sured per­son. The only big ar­gu­ment me and my dad ever had was over me not mea­sur­ing Pimm’s (cock­tail) out prop­erly when I made him a Pimm’s. He liked ev­ery­thing to be just so. But he was never a hang­er­outer. He liked to get things done and The White Al­bum wasn’t that. So he brought Chris Thomas in, who was his as­sis­tant, and his first day he said, ‘I’m go­ing on hol­i­day. You sort it out.’

I looked, out of mor­bid fas­ci­na­tion, to see what I could find of them ar­gu­ing on tape ... But if you lis­ten to the con­ver­sa­tions they’re hav­ing on the out­takes ... They’re ac­tu­ally sup­port­ing each other.” Giles Mar­tin con­tra­dicts the be­lief The White Al­bum was The Bea­tles’ break-up al­bum.

The White Al­bum reis­sue adds pre­vi­ously un­heard de­mos (the fa­mous Esher De­mos) to The Fab Four’s clas­sic dou­ble-LP.

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