Beatles Reissue Producer Giles Martin: Paul And Ringo Have To Be Happy

The son of original Beatles producer George describes the process of remixing ‘The White Album’ for its 50th anniversary reissue.

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Giles Martin photo Alex Lake
Photo: Alex Lake

Giles Martin has spoken about the great pleasure of mixing The Beatles’ catalogue and working with his “bosses,” surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. The son of the group’s original producer George Martin has been discussing the multi-format, 50th anniversary reissue of 1968’s The BEATLES, widely known as “The White Album.” Giles was speaking ahead of the new edition’s release on November 9, 2018, via Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe.

The Beatles - Back In The U.S.S.R. (2018 Mix / Lyric Video)

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The release came some 17 months after Martin’s work on the similar reissue of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Suggesting that the decision to embark on a Beatles remix project is not taken until relatively close to the anniversary time, he told this writer: “This one’s been slightly more organised, but I always underestimate the amount of work that one has to do on it.”

The Super Deluxe version of The BEATLES includes six CDs, a DVD and a hardbound book, with a total of 107 tracks, comprising the original 30-track album, the famous Esher Demos and countless early session versions. “You forget, with this album particularly,” he says. “Because it’s such a big album, 30 tracks and then all the extras, then the Esher Demos, you suddenly realise ‘Oh my God, we’ve done 150 mixes.’”

White Album Super Deluxe

Explaining the production process, Martin says of his colleagues: “Mike Heatley and Kevin Howlett go and listen to everything and they make notes. But then I go and listen to everything and make notes. Their list is much bigger than mine because I’m much meaner than they are.

“But also there has to be a story to be told. The whole thing with a mix project like this is that (a) I want the tracks to sound good and make you feel a certain way but also (b) I want it to be a window into the world that I’m so privileged to be in, where I can get a tape from the vaults and listen to it and enjoy it.

“I want people to feel what it’s like to be in the creative process, and there’s a beauty in the flawed quality of the performance that ends in the masterpiece that is ‘The White Album.’”

What’s The New Mary Jane (Take 1)

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CDs four, five and six in the Super Deluxe package comprise some 50 session performances, including unheard early versions of many tracks and others that weren’t on the album, notably “Lady Madonna,” “Across The Universe” and various light-hearted jams.

“With the outtakes,” says Martin, “it’s pretty much what’s on tape. The only time I would ever get rid of something is that sometimes you would get weird feedback going over something or tape noise, but in general I’ve kept things as dirty as possible.

The Beatles (White Album) - Anniversary Releases

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“With the extras, I would just sit on my own and do them, and I work quite quickly as well. I sent them to [Abbey Road engineer] Alex Wharton to get them mastered and he goes ‘These sound amazing, what have you done?’ I said ‘Very little, I’ve panned them, a bit of EQ, a bit of compression maybe, not much, and the job’s a good ’un.’

The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Esher Demo / Audio)

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“I remember [producer-artist] Ethan Johns saying to me, [his father] Glyn’s advice to him was ‘When the hairs stand up on your arm, stop doing what you’re doing.’ It would be so easy to start going into them, but that’s not the point of it. We have the record, and the record we mixed meticulously, and in fact the Esher Demos we mixed properly. But the outtakes should be the outtakes, and I want people to feel what I feel when I put them on the tape machine.”

Martin also described McCartney and Starr’s input into the reissue process. “‘The White Album,’ especially, sounds pretty contemporary,” he notes. “Paul said this to me when he came to listen to it at Abbey Road. We sat and listened to bits and pieces together and he said ‘It’s funny, it sounds like a contemporary record.’

“I went out to L.A. to see Ringo,” Martin goes on. “We listened to stuff together and he makes his notes. They’re my bosses, they have to be happy, that’s the first box to tick. It’s their record, their stuff that I’m playing around with.”

The BEATLES (‘The White Album’) can be bought here.

Listen to the best of The Beatles on Apple Music and Spotify.

Format: Union Jack flagUK English


  1. Richard Hinkle

    September 26, 2018 at 2:52 am

    The Beatles still rock I grew up with the Beatles. I gotta have it! Rik Hinkle.

    • S.Rose

      September 26, 2018 at 3:53 am

      This is like a love story. I’m so happy that Giles Martin is doing this, it makes it 100% better. Just imagining him going through the motions that his dad did and then having Paul and Ringo hear it just makes me so happy. I’ve fallen in love with Giles and I don’t even know him because what he’s doing in the way he’s doing it is such a labor of love. I’ve definitely got to buy the albums and the CDs with the book, I guess I have to buy a turntable too. I alao have a goal to see Paul McCartney, I’ve seen Ringo and loved him, now I just have to get to see Paul. He’s playing in some funny places, I’m hoping he books a show in California.

  2. Diane. Soares

    September 26, 2018 at 3:53 am

    I.thought george. Martin.was.a. sensational. Record. Producer. Sorry. Hes. Gone. Im. Sure. His. Son. Is. Also. Good. Like. His. Dad. Best wishes. To. His. martin. one. Of. The. Beatles.

  3. Carol Kyser Fritsche

    September 26, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I love the Beatles. That being said, I hate what Giles has done to all of the Beatles music, I am sure that his Dad is rolling over in his grave! The original version of their songs where best.

  4. Joseph Mango

    September 26, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    If I were stranded on an island and had to choose one album to listen to it would be the White Album. People really don’t listen to complete works anymore, they listen to a variety of songs assembled on a device.

    The White Album has everything you want – it’s so eclectic, beautifully composed flawless and flawed at the same time. Highly creative, we’ll probably never see the likes of it again. The notion that were listening to them 50+ years after they split says everything. Genius.

  5. Carl Blue Wise

    September 26, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Thank You Beatles and George Martin and all the wonderful people behind the scenes. Mal Evans love to you in heaven. Giles Martin is another gift to all us Beatle Fans. This will be so nice to hear with all the sweetness of the Beatles White Album . Thanks Beatles for this Gem.

  6. Rick Siegfried

    November 9, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I haven’t been at all impressed by his surround sound mixes. I wish they would have someone like Steve Wilson do the surround mixes.

  7. Dave Cochrane

    January 9, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    The White Album, like Abbey Road, has a remix and remaster way, way better than the Sgt. Pepper project, which for me was a complete train wreck of brick-wall compression. So I was expecting more of the same, but then delighted to hear the original dynamics pretty much preserved (at least on the Blu-ray issues, not so much on the CD and digital downloads). The drums on the White Album are much improved, with more weight to the snare. It always sounded like it was miked underneath with lots of wire sound but no skin. I would guess it’s been rectified with EQ and carefully shaped compression to improve the attack. But whatever they did, it works. I’m not so keen on the occasional panning of the vocal to one side when an ad lib happens. But by and large, the improved clarity and drum sound has rendered the original mix obsolete for me.

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