Sgt Pepper’s 50th anniversary – Giles Martin interview: ‘I’m not trying to change history’

From the Independent

“Welcome to Abbey Road Studios,” smiles Giles Martin as we take a seat in the world’s most famous recording studio.

The son of the late record-producing legend Sir George Martin, the man behind The Beatles‘ entire back catalogue, has been hard at work on a new mix of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band which is celebrating its 50th anniversary on 1 June.

Among other things, this box set features remixed versions of all the album’s tracks and an 114-page commemorative book as well as two discs of unreleased material of the Fab Four in the studio. Martin remains hesitant to attribute the word “definitive” to any version but what he and engineer Sam Okell have crafted is certainly a must-own for a fan of any stature.

“It’s not a crass marketing machine. We’re not making a Robin Reliant,” the affable Martin tells me acknowledging “a lack of empathy” with first-time listeners of Sgt. Pepper’s new mix. This would be disheartening to many. Martin, however, is pragmatic.

“The records were not designed to be played in 50 years time,” he says. “They made a record, it came out and then they were making other records – it’s just that. If you look at the recording timeline, they made the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ single shortly before they finished mixing Sgt. Pepper’s, and then they did the ‘All You Need Is Love’ broadcast. So it was constant. It wasn’t like, “This is what they’ll be listening to in 50 years time.”

Still, it must be a daunting prospect amending what many deem to be the greatest album ever made.

“I’m not trying to change history in any way,” he states with a refreshing honesty. “I love music – I don’t want to piss people off.”

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