When The Beatles’ producer George Martin – who is credited with supervising the band’s most famous recordings – was first introduced to the fab four his reaction was “Well that’s a silly name for a start. Who’d ever want a group with the name ‘beetles’?”
The anecdote emerged in rare footage shared by Martin’s son Giles Martin on Twitter on Wednesday.
In the short clip, the world-famous producer, who went on to work with a plethora of top British pop acts including Cilla Black and Tom Jones, can be seen telling his young grand-daughter (Giles’s daughter) about his first encounter with Paul McCartney and co.
“There were four of them,” says Martin. “And I said, ‘Who are they, what are they?’ And he [presumably the band’s manager, Brian Epstein] said ‘Well, they’re a group. We call them The Beatles.’ And I said, ‘Well that’s a silly name for a start. Who would ever want a group with the name ‘beetles’?’ And he said, ‘Well, it isn’t the beetles you think of. It’s “Beatles” with an “A” in it, like “Beat-les.”‘ So I listened to what he said and I said, Well, I’ll have to hear them first of all.”
“So he sent them down from Liverpool, which is quite a long way, and I met them in London. And when I listened to what they did, it was okay, but it wasn’t brilliant. It was okay. So I thought well, why should I be interested in this?”
“But the magic but came when I started to get to know them, because they were terribly good people to know. They were funny, they were very clever, they said all the lovely things. They were the kind of people that you like to be with. And so I thought, ‘Well, if I feel this way about them, other people will feel this way about them. So therefore they should be very popular.’ And I made records with them.”
Martin oversaw EMI’s Parlophone imprint when he took the call from Epstein that would eventually change all of their lives in the early 1960s. After being turned down by almost every other major London label, it was Martin who signed the band.
The producer died in 2016 aged 90.
“I don’t normally share anything personal but this my dad from a while back explaining to my daughter he signed the Beatles,” Giles Martin, also a music producer, wrote on Twitter alongside an emoji of a red heart. “Ordinary people do extraordinary things. Great decisions are made for the simplest reasons. ‘I figured if I like them this much other people might too.’”
Martin will be portrayed by Charley Palmer Rothwell (“Dunkirk”) in upcoming Epstein biopic “Midas Man.”
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