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Sound Pictures offers a powerful glimpse into the mind, the music, and the man behind the sound of the Beatles. The second book of two, Sound Pictures traces the story of George Martin and the Beatles’ incredible artistic trajectory after reaching the creative heights of Rubber Soul. As the bandmates engage in brash experimentation both inside and outside of the studio, Martin toils along with manager Brian Epstein to consolidate the Beatles’ fame in the face of growing sociocultural pressures, including the crisis associated with the “Beatles are more popular than Jesus” scandal. Meanwhile, Martin struggles to make his way as an independent producer in the highly competitive world of mid-1960s rock ‘n’ roll.
As Martin and the Beatles create one landmark album after another, including such masterworks as Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (The White Album), and Abbey Road, the internal stakes and interpersonal challenges become ever greater. During his post-Beatles years, Martin attempts to discover new vistas of sound recording with a host of acts, including Jeff Beck, America, Cheap Trick, Paul McCartney, and Elton John. Eventually, all roads lead Martin back to the Beatles, as the group seeks out new ways to memorialize their achievement under the supervision of the man who came to be known as Sir George. Now, more than 50 years later, Martin’s singular stamp remains on popular music as successive generations discover the magic of the Beatles.
“Even though Paul McCartney dubbed him the ‘Fifth Beatle,’ George Martin was always more than the Beatles’ producer, and Kenneth Womack’s highly detailed and immensely readable second volume again captures the talent, determination, and warmth of one of popular music’s great innovators and true gentlemen.” —Brian Southall, author of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
“Through a generous helping of first-hand accounts and his insightful storytelling skills, Kenneth Womack brings to life the creative process by which the Beatles’ late music was presented to the world. Covering 1966 to the end of George Martin’s life, Sound Pictures captures the imagination, expertise, and humor in the Beatles’ partnership with their production and engineering team, connecting the dots with interpretations of Martin’s important side projects and post-Beatles work. Fascinating reading!” —Walter Everett, author of The Beatles as Musicians
“Fulfilling the promise of his first volume, Kenneth Womack narrates the high season and post-Beatles portion of Martin’s career with enough engineering details to please sound geeks, framed inside inviting prose for the general reader. While the Fab Four dominated Martin’s work, his many outside projects ranged from soundtracks, arrangements, and arch professional diplomacy to inexplicably overlooked bands like the Action. In Womack’s telling, Martin emerges as something far more than a footnote in the Beatles’ story.” —Tim Riley, author of Lennon: The Man, The Myth, The Music
“Kenneth Womack’s engrossing biography of George Martin offers a fascinating and compelling look at the producer’s career—from his remarkable partnership with the Beatles to the pioneering work he composed and produced in the decades after the breakup. Womack celebrates Martin’s humor, talent, and genius, providing new insights into the man who exerted such a profound impact on music history. A must-read for musicians, producers, Beatles fans, and music lovers.” —Scott Freiman, filmmaker, Deconstructing the Beatles