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'Fifth Beatle' George Martin going out in style

Web posted on:
Tuesday, November 10, 1998 2:48:00 PM EST

From Correspondent Dennis Michael

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Sir George Martin's 50-year career in the music industry included working as the Beatles' producer -- from "Love Me Do" through "The Beatles Anthology." But now Martin is retiring as a producer and he's celebrating by helming a new album, "George Martin, In My Life."

"I wasn't setting out to break any barriers here, or break any records," Martin says. "I was just going to do an album which I thought would be enormous fun to make and would give pleasure to lots of people. I set out to do an album with some of my friends, and then widen it a bit and did it with my heroes as well."

The album includes Robin Williams singing "Come Together."

"I think he's such a terrific guy," says Martin.

Comic actor Jim Carrey belts out a rendition of "I Am the Walrus."

Video clip:
1.3Mb QuickTime

George Martin gets a little help from his friends

"I needed someone to do a zany version," says Martin. "I couldn't think of anybody better, and he did a wonderful performance. He sings so good, so well."

Martin convinced Celine Dion to perform Paul McCartney's ballad "Here, There and Everywhere," and Phil Collins was tagged to do the "Golden Slumbers" medley from the Beatles album "Abbey Road."

Some might think it's sacrilege to put new voices on some of the most revered music of the 20th century. But Martin says that's nonsense.

"A lot of people regard Beatles music as the holy grail that should never be touched except with incense and whatever," Martin says. "I don't hold with that. Having been part of it, I feel that it's my music, too.

At a recent Hollywood party celebrating "In My Life," Quincy Jones called Martin "the fifth Beatle," a common accolade directed at Martin. But did he really have that much to do with the Beatles' success?

"There were five voices on the studio floor," Martin recalls. "And every one of them was respected and listened to. Whoever wrote the original song we were working on, obviously their voice would be heard above everyone else. But it worked very well. It was a very collaborative effort. And of course, we were great friends."

Martin will continue to do concert tours and run his studio complex and radio station.

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