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The "fifth" Beatle(s).


whitefang

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When The Beatles were first starting to make it big in the U.S., there was of course, the stories of the drummer BEFORE Ringo, Pete Best, and he was often referred to as "The fifth Beatle". Then later, about the time LET IT BE was being recorded, George Martin, trying to find a way to keep the guys from their constant bickering at that time, brought in keyboardist extrordinaire BILLY PRESTON in hopes a stranger in their midst would put them on their best behavior. It worked, but after that, PRESTON was often considered the "Fifth Beatle".

 

And years later, and in more recent times, it was longtime producer GEORGE MARTIN who many felt was "The fifth Beatle".

 

And there are some who mockingly state that it once seemed John Lennon was trying to make YOKO the "Fifth Beatle".

 

Whaddya all think? :)

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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I think they did their best work as the Fab 4 we all know. I have nothing against Yoko, but bringing her in would not have worked at all IMHO. I would have loved to have seen them get along and stay together longer, but all good things must come to an end. Although the Stones are still out there LOL! :cool::cool::cool::cool:
Take care, Larryz
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The term was thrown around a lot early on. Even Murray the K, a New York disk jockey who can claim some credit for having broken their first US singles in NY, was briefly called the fifth Beatle because he was sitting next to them on every press conference they did on their first US tour.

 

But, seriously, George Martin. He was their constant collaborator throughout their entire recording career (except the rather tumultuous & uninspired Let It Be) & he had their ears.

Scott Fraser
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Sir George Martin took the fab 4 and brought them from a great rock and roll bar band into the realm of super-stardom. I am convinced that Sir George was a taskmaster, but actually a very big part of the musical genius the Beatles became. I would call him the 5th Beatle. Sir George was one of the most important ingredients in the wondrously innovative stuff those 5 did together.

 

Hands down winner in my mind, maybe not the popular choice since he was behind the scenes, but speaking in a utilitarian fashion Sir George wins the title easy.

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Sir George Martin took the fab 4 and brought them from a great rock and roll bar band into the realm of super-stardom. I am convinced that Sir George was a taskmaster, but actually a very big part of the musical genius the Beatles became. I would call him the 5th Beatle. Sir George was one of the most important ingredients in the wondrously innovative stuff those 5 did together.

Hands down winner in my mind, maybe not the popular choice since he was behind the scenes, but speaking in a utilitarian fashion Sir George wins the title easy.

 

Without a doubt, absolutely & utterly.

Scott Fraser
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Then later, about the time LET IT BE was being recorded, George Martin, trying to find a way to keep the guys from their constant bickering at that time, brought in keyboardist extrordinaire BILLY PRESTON in hopes a stranger in their midst would put them on their best behavior.

Whitefang

 

Billy wasn't a stranger at all to the Beatles. But he WAS an outsider & a full time optimist, so he kept the vibe upbeat & respectful. The Beatles met & played with Billy back in their Hamburg days, 60 & 61.

Scott Fraser
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but all good things must come to an end.

 

Don't you mean, "All Things Must Pass"? ;)

 

Yeah, I go along with Martin too, since he WAS involved with most of the music they put out, and it possibly( undoubtedly, I'd say) wouldn't have been as good as it was. But my brother in law came up with this....

 

Since HE worked SO hard at getting the work and exposure of the band to where they were finally HEARD by George Martin, HE feels the REAL "fifth Beatle" was BRIAN EPSTEIN.

 

That works for me too.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Brian Epstein did a big bunch for the Beatles of course and he rates as well. In the business sense yep Brian was the 5th Beatle but musically it was Sir George.

 

Now Brian did not get the Beatles a good deal. They to this day do not own most of the publishing on most of their works, Northern Songs sold the rights to Michael Jackson, (They may have a small percentage). And the money split on the recordings went like this EMI 80%, Sir George 15%, Beatles 5%, now that don't sound like a great deal to me. I bet those two reasons were major in the decision to split up the group by the musicians themselves.

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Then there was the big Allen Klien management deal After Epstien died. Fortunately McCartney's then wife Linda Eastman's father also wanted to manage, so McCartney went with him, and the dual between those two managers got the Beatles a big chunk of money. Before that little war, the Beatles had chump change, afterwords several hundred millions each....
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Now remember DBM...That Michael Jackson deal happened LONG after Epstein died. So, why bring it up in this instance?

 

I still like the story involving Epstein that when he showed up at a meeting with them ( a bit before they made it big) he was showing the injuries he recieved from a beating. The guys, shocked and a bit upset, asked him what happened. When told, they asked why someone would BEAT him so fiercely and Epstien then timidly "came out" to them that he was gay, half expecting them to think less of him because of it. Instead, they all looked puzzled and replied, "Well, we knew THAT, so what has it to do with getting BEATEN?" And then they expressed disgust at the existence of "gay bashers" and Brian then felt better.

 

Apparently, they thought of him as a friend AND their manager, and nothing else mattered.

 

I'm not sure if the story is true, but I like to think it is.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Over here, Epstein was never seen as the 5th Beatle, mainly because, in the 60's, the UK was still very class-conscious. Epstein was seen as a separate class from them (he positioned himself as 'upper-middle' and they were 'working class') and therefore, could not possibly be classed alongside them(!!!).

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

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The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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It'd be interesting to know what McCartney and Ringo think about this...

 

But then again Geoff...George Martin too, at the time would have been considered "upper-middle" as far as a class system goes, which would leave HIM out as well, using your criteria. ;)

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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WEll, no one's mentioned Stu Sutcliffe, who wwas in the band when there were actually 5 of them, or the so-little-known-that I-can't-recall-his-name-without-looking-it-up pianist that played with them a few gigs before they were famous outside LPool & HBurg.

 

As to Martin, I go with all the positives accorded him above but I'd call him the 3rd Beatle, the most important to their work after Lennon & McCartney.

d=halfnote
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d----Larry brought up Stu earlier.

 

Anyway, any talk of a "fifth" Beatle first cropped up AFTER they got so big. What transpired beforehand wasn't considered. Which in this case might negate even considering BEST as the "5th". But, Pete Best was STILL their drummer when Martin brought them into the studio, but thought he needed replacement and it was THEN that he was gotten rid of and Ringo was then able to shed Rory Storm and join them. It was THAT backstory that got Best pegged as the "5th Beatle".

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Yeah, (that should read 1st bass player, as opposed to "1s" as I made a typo)...

 

I had to go back through this thread and the Ringo thread too, to find our mention of Stu LOL! So, that's why D didn't see anyone on this thread bringing him up... :crazy:

Take care, Larryz
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I gotta think with all the reunion concerts legacy bands are doing we would have had a Beatle reunion, at least for world aid , by now if Loko Yoyo hadnt broke them up. 5th Beatle can only ever be George Martin. Without him they would have sounded very much less polished. Funny that George M never was very effecive producing anybody else to popular sucess.

FunMachine.

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I gotta think with all the reunion concerts legacy bands are doing we would have had a Beatle reunion, at least for world aid , by now if Loko Yoyo hadnt broke them up.

 

I think they would have reformed if John Lennon hadn't been murdered.

 

5th Beatle can only ever be George Martin.

 

Agreed.

 

Without him they would have sounded very much less polished. Funny that George M never was very effecive producing anybody else to popular sucess.

 

He had big success with America, as well as Jeff Beck.

Scott Fraser
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I'll add that I never thought Yoko "broke them up". They were probably close to it at that point.

 

And that we probably would NEVER had heard of them without George Martin. The story I've always heard( or read), was that Martin was walking through the EMI offices when he overheard a demo some A&R guy was listening to. He thought they had something he liked and asked about the tape. The guy who was listening said he was ready to pass on them, but gave Martin the tape and contact info and let him "have at it".

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Now remember DBM...That Michael Jackson deal happened LONG after Epstein died. So, why bring it up in this instance?
Just because money may be one of the main reasons why they broke up earlier. They were tied as a group to the record company. As you could see by my post above they were not getting a deal that was worthy in staying with it.

 

Later on when I was publishing my first album, I went to the Specialty Records plant in Olyphant Pa and wanted to pick up the albums and cassettes I ordered, I could not go that day because tractor trailers were picking up one of John Lennon's just produced albums, so there was big security going on, and no one was allowed on site. I assumed at the time, Lennon was bankrolling his own works from then on. And having a distributor distribute them for him. Specialty records at that time was making records in their manufacturing plant for many record companies. Lenny Meholic was the guy I was working with and he explained what was going on that day.

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Later on when I was publishing my first album, I went to the Specialty Records plant in Olyphant Pa and wanted to pick up the albums and cassettes I ordered, I could not go that day because tractor trailers were picking up one of John Lennon's just produced albums, so there was big security going on, and no one was allowed on site. I assumed at the time, Lennon was bankrolling his own works from then on. And having a distributor distribute them for him. Specialty records at that time was making records in their manufacturing plant for many record companies. Lenny Meholic was the guy I was working with and he explained what was going on that day.

 

When a record label was rolling out a major new release & needed several hundred thousand copies in stores on release day, they used maybe 10 to 12 pressing plants all across the US to get that kind of volume. The label-owned plants couldn't produce the quantity required, & distribution from multiple locations was cheaper as well.

Scott Fraser
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That's one thing most people wrongly assume I guess.

 

That labels putting new records out on the market is no trouble.

 

I would guess it isn't too difficult when at some point they have it down to a routine. But nobody thinks about all what's involved.

 

It's not just getting the platters pressed( the tape-to-disc proccess is one that STILL fascinates me), but also getting the LABELS that go one each disc printed, the proccess with which to fasten them to each disc, the COVERS printed and each platter inserted and plastic wrapped and THEN getting them all out to the stores NATIONWIDE has to be a HUGE undertaking.

 

But I really don't see what ANY of this has to do with George Martin, or ANYbody being the "5th" Beatle.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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During the first "breaking in" recording session with George Martin, George invited the Beatles to speak up if there was something they didn't like.

 

George Harrison promptly replied "Well for starters, I don't like your tie".

 

Fortunately George saw the humor in the remark and that cemented his commitment to the group.

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