I read the news today, o boy…
Dear Mr. Martin,
I hear your voice nearly every single day.
Whenever I load our family into the minivan and bluetooth my iPhone to the stereo, the first track that plays is the audio to the “Abbey Road” mini-documentary from the most recent release of the “Complete Beatles.” It’s the first because it begins with the letter a.
It’s become a ritual for our little girls, ages 4 and 2.
“I was quite surprised when Paul rang me up and said, ‘we’re going to make another record. Would you like to produce it?'”
That’s your first line in the piece.
Little Georgia P and Lila Jane don’t know who you are or why you were so special to their father.
But they know your voice and it only takes a minute or so of listening to the dialog in the documentary before the girls insist that “we listen to Beatles.”
From the first time I heard Paul count off “I Saw Her Standing There” to the countless hours of listening to “Abbey Road” and “The Beatles” (“The White Album”) on my Walkman as a teen; from the time my cello teacher taught me how to play an arrangement from “Eleanor Rigby” when I was 8 years old to the first time a tape engineer pressed record at my first real studio session when I was 19 (yes, I’m old enough to remember 2-inch tape!)… your work profoundly shaped my musical sensibilities and my interest in the recording arts.
Today, in the New York Times, the author of your obituary wrote that your work with the Beatles overshadowed your collaboration with other artists.
Not for me.
To this day, Jeff Beck’s “Blow by Blow” and “Wired” are among my favorite recordings, albums to which I return over and over again in times of emotional and spiritual need.
Once, at a session in LA when I was in my early twenties, I met an engineer who had worked as the tape operator at Abbey Road studio on the “Wired” sessions. To shake his hand, knowing that he was the one who pressed “record” when you said “roll tape,” was electric.
There are countless other unforgettable albums you gave us, each priceless.
We have a small recording studio in our home and our girls are already excited about the recording arts. It will be years before they understand what a “producer” does and before they know who you are.
But they know your voice well. And I’m looking forward to their lifetime of discovering your work and your magic.
Thank you for everything you did for us and everything you gave us. There is no one compares with you.
Roll tape… one, two, three, four…
Your devoted fan,