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Gold Medal, Independent Publisher Book Award for Biography
Maximum Volume offers a glimpse into the mind, the music, and the man behind the sound of the Beatles. George Martin’s working-class childhood, his education, and his musical influences at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama profoundly shaped his early career at the EMI Group’s Parlophone Records. These musical influences would become the fount out of which flowed the genius behind his seven years producing the Beatles’ incredible body of work, including such albums as Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road.
The first book of a two-part series, Maximum Volume traces Martin’s early years as a scratch pianist, his life in the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War, and his groundbreaking work as the head of Parlophone Records during the 1950s, when Martin saved the company from ruin after making his name as a producer of comedy and spoken-word recordings. In its most dramatic moments, Maximum Volume narrates the story of Martin’s unlikely discovery of the Beatles and his painstaking efforts to prepare their newfangled sound for the British music marketplace. As the story unfolds, Martin and the band craft numerous number-one hits along the group’s progress towards The Ed Sullivan Show and such landmark songs as “Yesterday” and “In My Life”—Beatles tunes that bear Martin’s unmistakable musical signature.
“They seemed an unlikely partnership—the Beatles, who knew everything about rock and roll music, and their classically trained producer George Martin, who knew very little. But as Kenneth Womack uncovers in this engrossing and forensically detailed biography, the recording studio became a ‘magic workshop’ and George Martin a musical wizard when it came to the Beatles’ songs. A fascinating read.”—Ray Connolly, author of Being Elvis
“An authoritative account of pop-music history and the man who helped shape it.”—Kirkus Reviews
“George Martin transformed the role of ‘producer’ as much as the Beatles transformed our idea of a ‘band,’ so Kenneth Womack’s engaging account of Martin’s life fills a major hole on pop music’s shelf. For a rich, illuminating understanding of how the Beatles catalog transcends song, performance, and arrangement, jump through this hogshead of real fire: tonight, George Martin tops the bill.”—Tim Riley, author of Tell Me Why and Lennon: Man, Myth, Music
“A marvelous magical mystery tour behind the wizard’s curtain—one that leaves us with a deep understanding of one of the key architects of pop culture. Essential reading for anyone who’s ever had a soundtrack to their dreams.”—Vivek J. Tiwary, author of The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story
“The book contains enough fresh information and informed insight about the group’s early years to satisfy the most devout Beatlemaniac.”—ForeWord Reviews
“Beatles fans will love this and look forward to Womack’s continuation of the Martin story.”—Booklist Online