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Watch George Martin Tell His Young Granddaughter Why He Signed the Beatles

“I said, ‘Well that’s a silly name for a start,” he says to his grandchild. “‘Who would ever want a group with the name ‘beetles’?’


George Martin told the story of how he first encountered the Beatles in 1962 in countless interviews and lectures throughout his long life, not to mention the pages of his 1979 memoir All You Need Is Ears. But in newly released archival home movie footage by his son Giles Martin, he explains it in a very sweet, tender, and simple way to his young granddaughter.

“There were four of them,” says Martin. “And I said, ‘Who are they, what are they?’ And [Beatles 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,” he continued. “And when I listened to what they did, it was OK, but it wasn’t brilliant. It was OK. 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,” he concluded. “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.”

To flesh out the story just a little, Martin met the Beatles on June 6, 1962, at Abbey Road Studios. He was unimpressed by drummer Pete Best and early songs like “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You,” but they came back in September with Ringo Starr and he began seeing their huge potential. He served as their producer all the way through their final LP Abbey Road. “George Martin made us what we were in the studio,” John Lennon said in 1971. “He helped us develop a language to talk to other musicians.”

Martin died in 2016 at the age of 90. It’s unclear exactly when this conversation with his granddaughter was filmed. “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 wrote on Twitter. “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.’”

From Rolling Stone US