THE chairman of Portsmouth Cultural Trust has recalled the time he worked with the legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin, who has died aged 90.
The record producer was often known as ‘the fifth Beatle’ as he signed the Hey Jude hitmakers and recorded more than 200 songs with the Liverpudlians.
He also produced hundreds of other records with acts including Dame Shirley Bassey, Cilla Black and Gerry and The Pacemakers.
Back in 1992 when Andy Grays was manager of the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, a former colleague invited him to join a team that would stage a performance of Dylan Thomas’s classic radio play Under Milk Wood.
With a cast including Tom Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones and Harry Secombe, it was to be a charity gala performance for the Prince’s Trust. It would also serve as the launch for a new recording studio in north London, AIR Studios, owned by George Martin.
Andy said: ‘Four days after being approached I found myself sitting around the largest boardroom table I’d ever seen with several people associated with the production at a meeting chaired by George Martin.
‘He was the very personification of a gentleman, polite and quietly spoken, I was in awe and not a little overwhelmed, not helped by the fact that I had no idea what to expect.
‘I turned up at AIR Studios three days before the performance of Under Milk Wood to witness a building site, stepping over wood, dodging electricians. I asked my former colleague who’d recruited me if he really thought it would be ready in time.
‘Looking slightly sheepish he told me everything would be alright on the night, and so it was.
‘George Martin arrived and greeted Prince Charles, who only that week had announced his separation from Princess Diana. Hordes of paparazzi greeted the occasion and the production commenced.
‘If memory serves me correctly it was broadcast, probably on Radio 4.’