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Part 3 of 3


Lessons from the CEO of The Beatles, Part 3


With everything in place -- the band, producer, songs, management, recording contracts -- how did The Beatles get the publicity to make them the biggest band in history?


Lesson No. 5: Budget well for publicity. Use "Six Degrees of Separation" -- someone knows someone who can catapult you to success. What you do for them in return makes it mutually empowering.


With "Please, Please Me" wrapped, Martin pressed the intercom button, saying, "Gentlemen, you've just made your first No. 1 record." He was right, but it took time because EMI did little promotion. So Martin and Dick James did it themselves.


Dick James got them a pivotal TV appearance on the popular show, "Thank Your Lucky Stars." EMI finally promoted the song on its Radio Luxembourg program, where it reached No. 1. Martin knew an album was next. They recorded 13 tracks in 13 history-making hours. Their first album and an appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" catapulted them to the top.


Lesson No. 6: Set high standards, treat people with respect, dignity and as equals. Give their talent, innovation and creativity freedom to soar.


How did Martin do it -- dealing with their genius, prodigious output, personality clashes, pressure, late hours, deadlines, grueling tour schedules, films, drugs, groupies, girlfriends, infidelities, divorce and the media?


"We worked as equals ... I think it makes good practice to treat all people the same. Whether it's the tape operator or the star, I have found I get the best out of people that way," he says.


When asked how he steered the musical ship, he responds, "I guided them and pointed them in the direction of the wider picture, offered them more musical toys and gave the space to let their genius and imagination go wild," adding poetically, "We wanted to paint in sound."


He thought of innovative ways to record to capture sounds that The Beatles heard in their minds. Sometimes "mistakes" were left in -- like the alarm clock in "A Day in the Life." Each member contributed singing, recording ideas, lyrics and songwriting for a record 34 hit singles in a row. Martin produced all but one of the group's 19 albums. He fondly remembers their last album together, saying, "Abbey Road was an absolute delight. I think we all knew it was the last, and we enjoyed it. It all came to a natural end after that."


Since that time, Martin has worked with Peter Gabriel, Sting, Elton John, Manfred Mann, the Hollies featuring Graham Nash, as well as jazz artists Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and Stan Getz. He produced and wrote the score for "Candle in the Wind '97," Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana.


Sir George Martin was knighted and has won five Grammys, the Rock Producer Award, an Oscar nomination for A Hard Day's Night and the prestigious Silver Jubilee Award for Best Producer, 1952-1977. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from NARAS.


In 1998, Martin produced and arranged In My Life, a farewell album of Beatles tunes performed by famous musicians and actors. In February 2006, Martin sold his share in AIR Studios.


Martin celebrated his 80th birthday with the production of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Beatles/Cirque du Soleil collaboration "LOVE," the resident show at The Mirage, in Las Vegas. I had the pleasure of being at the premiere on June 30, 2006, where I met Paul McCartney. The music, lighting, acrobatics and staging combined for one of the most exciting nights of entertainment I've ever experienced.


Martin and his son, Giles, remastered the original Beatles hits for the LOVE CD from the Cirque du Soleil show. In 2006, it sold 4.9 million units in the first six weeks from its release until the end of the year.


Great lessons from the CEO of The Beatles. And the rest is and was "The Long and Winding Road" of music history.





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