What is the summary for All You Need Is Ears?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All You Need is Ears is the story of George Martin's work with The Beatles. Martin was the group's record producer throughout their career.  He was the one who recognized the group's talent and engineered their albums.  Martin's role as producer was critical to the group's maturation from "lovable moptops" to serious transformative musical artists.  The book gives specific insights into the group's dynamics, their technical acumen, and Martin's role in facilitating both.

The book conveys Martin's impressions and stories of his time with the group. It gives the musical backstory to some of the group's most legendary songs.  For example, Martin tells the story of how Paul McCartney approached him after having heard "a tremendous sound last night," that of a high-pitched trumpet.  Martin immediately recognized from the description a "Bach trumpet." Paul then asked if they could use it in a song.  Out of that comes the distinctive musical interlude in "Penny Lane."  Martin also details his role in the iconic "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.  Covering everything from the sitar background of "Within You, Without You" to the orchestral arrangement in "A Day in the Life" and the background musical "wash" of organ music in "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," Martin's recollections detail how the group's music was as much a technical revolution as a cultural one.

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