Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Another thing about George Martin that's often, er, overlooked

He was a tall man in an era where it was quite unusual. Furthermore he worked in a business where it was even more unusual. It went with the accent he'd taught himself during the war and the upper middle class manners. His height helped him pull rank without seeming to.

Think about all the great groups of the sixties. Beatles, Stones, the Who and obviously the Small Faces. Most would be considered almost diminutive by modern standards.

Go to a standing gig nowadays and you'll have trouble seeing the stage though the forest of young men and women in their twenties. Compared to the beat generation they're like giant redwoods.


  1. That's a great point, David. I helped Wishbone Ash mainstay Andy Powell (b.1950) with an autobiography last year and he made the point that his whole post-war generation, and those born a little earlier in the '40s (hence, most of the British rock musicians in their 60s and 70s now), were almost all tiny and thin. The diet and lifestyles available to that generation are, to use your word, often overlooked or just not thought of by listeners of today.

    There were, of course, exceptions Paul Jones (Manfred Mann) and Ralph McTell spring to mind as unusually tall people or that generation. And of course Long John Baldry! I'm sure there were a few others, but not many.

    The height/authority thing is a profound point. It's very difficult to convey authority if you're short, without overcompensating in volume or mannerisms. The likes of Sir George Martin, and Christopher Lee, Charles Dance and a few other tall actors, pulled it off magnificently through height, sonorous voice and crisp diction.

  2. Small and Tall? Good stuff, but a bit of a generalisation too far, methinks.

    The “meat and spuds and chips and beer” diet is also a non-starter. I grew up on it (not so much the ale till I was in my teens) and although I’m not at all tall, neither am I at all small.

    All my school mates varied in size too. Genuinely the long and the short and the tall and the medium.

    Back with the music, have a look at The Animals. Long, Short and In-Between. I’m guessing they were raised on much the same cuisine.
    Blimey a rhyme of sorts.

  3. Even worse in Holland, where its like the Land of the Giants. They all grow so tall there, evene the women. They are lovely, dont get me wrong, but I just wonder what they are putting in the water there! (and my wife is 4 inches taller than I am - 5-6 and 5-10!)